Americans everywhere have watched with increasing dismay and alarm as 94 major wildfires continue to incinerate wide swaths of our beautiful Western states. As of this writing, the infernos — which are most heavily concentrated in California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho — have scorched nearly 5 million acres, an area approximately the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
We know the fires have taken at least 33 lives so far, spewed dangerous pollutants into the air breathed by millions of people, and caused vast damage to homes, businesses and property.
Again, it is our front-line responders who are answering the cries for help. The incredibly brave firefighters who have battled the flames for a month, evacuated those in danger, and contained the damage as best they can … these selfless people define the meaning of service to others.
Meanwhile, our hospitals, health systems and care teams are tending to