The New Approach to Fighting Wildfires

Fire season has so far mostly meant Alaska, which has racked up 1.8 million burned acres and counting. But fires are also moving down the West Coast, with a record burn on the Olympic Peninsula and houses again burning in central Washington. Flames are moving into drought-blasted California a couple of months early. The Forest Service estimates it will need an additional $800 million to $1.7 billion to pay for the season's expected costs.

But wildfire statistics are a poor proxy for what...

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