Following in the grand tradition of El NiÃ±o, La NiÃ±a, the Summer of the Shark, and various heat waves, cold snaps, tornado spells and heavy-snow seasons, the western wildfires have become this season’s winner of the news media’s annual “worse-than-ever-before natural phenomenon” sweepstakes. All the elements are there — the destructive power of nature, the helpless humans stuck in the path of nature’s fury, and the “experts” with apocalyptic sentiments.
With this sort of story, it is never enough to simply report events as they happen — we must also be subjected to countless reports and analyses insinuating that this latest event is actually the dawn of a new era of crisis and calamity, probably attributable to global warming, or maybe global cooling, or, most likely of all, El NiÃ±o.
Nevermind that the law of averages dictates there will be some extraordinarily destructive natural phenomenon every year, probably a couple of times a year. These days, every single time something happens, the media would lead you to believe that it’s the end of the world. And so, here we go again.
That’s not to say the wildfires in Colorado, Arizona and elsewhere aren’t newsworthy — they certainly are. But the fevered coverage gets a bit excessive. Then again, with pictures like this, it’s not hard to see why: