Phoenix — America's hottest and fastest-growing big city — is on the frontlines in the fight against drought, extreme heat, and wildfire. We bring you stories of how these global problems affect real Arizonans, and what is being done to solve them. This podcast series is supported by the Arizona Community Foundation and Intel.

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Fire Pt. 1: Fighting Angry Fires

Firefighter Riva Duncan
Riva Duncan spent 31 years working for the U.S. Forest Service fighting wildfires. Now, she works with Grassroots Wildland Firefighters, advocating for better pay, mental healthcare, and benefits for wildland firefighters. (Photo courtesy of Riva Duncan)
Anthony J. Wallace

The average area burned by wildfires in the United States annually has nearly tripled since the 1980s. But perhaps more importantly, those fires have gotten hotter, faster spreading, and more dangerous—placing the future of America's forests in jeopardy. In this first installment of our fire series, we look at how and why wildfires have changed so dramatically in recent decades, and we hear from firefighters about what it is like to fight them.