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The West is on fire. Blame the housing crisis

The West is on fire. Blame the housing crisis

California is on fire again. CalFire, one of the agencies charged with putting those fires out, is tracking upward of two dozen conflagrations up and down the state at the moment—Detwiller, Grade, Bridge, Wall, Alamo, Garza, on and on—ranging in size from a couple hundred acres to nearly 50,000.

And it’s not just the Golden State. Across the North American West, from Wanblee, South Dakota, to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon; from the Coronado National Forest near the Mexican border in Arizona to Fort Fraser in British Columbia and even farther north, grasses, chaparral, and forest are all ablaze. The continent is deep into the seasonal cycle of wet-winter-grows-plants/dry-summer-turns-them-to-fuel/they burn.

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Now and then: Photographs document habitat changes in Western forests

Now and then: Photographs document habitat changes in Western forests

In the summer of 1968, the U.S. Forest Service sent wildlife biologist George Gruell into the forests of northwestern Wyoming with a camera, a tripod and an old photograph. His assignment: Find the exact spot where the photo was taken — and take it again. Gruell had some old field notes and the vague recollections of a few locals to guide him. That got him fairly close.

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Want a $1 million paycheck? Skip college and go work in a lumberyard

Want a $1 million paycheck? Skip college and go work in a lumberyard

High-paying blue-collar jobs go unfilled as millions of Americans take on loads of college debt. Building-supply giant 84 Lumber says it has the answer. Sabastian Kleis, the son of a waitress from Rust Belt Ohio, was supposed to be the first person in his family to graduate from college. Instead, he dropped out of Kent State University after two years.

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Lumber lawsuit challenges the size of a 2×4

Lumber lawsuit challenges the size of a 2×4

Anybody who’s ever bought lumber knows that a 2×4 isn’t a 2×4, a 1×6 isn’t a 1×6, and a 4×4 isn’t a 4×4. “Anybody who’s in the trades or construction knows that,” Tim Stich, a carpentry instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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