Over Labor Day weekend, the fire storms that plagued California and Colorado in August blew up into an unprecedented siege of wildfires across half a dozen western states. Fire scientists and incident commanders warn that a series of almost unheard of events over the weekend—mass evacuations with military aircraft, entire towns torched, megafires blazing in multiple states at the same time—may become commonplace as the West warms.

“The incidence of these extreme events, which are basically outliers, will become more common,” said Robert Gray, a forest fire ecologist in British Columbia.

When September arrived, the eyes of most fire watchers were on California, which was beginning to make progress against its second, third and fourth largest fires on record, all of which ignited in rare August lightning storms that unleashed hundreds of fires across the state. Then the holiday weekend kicked off with a new blaze, the Creek Fire, igniting on Friday night. Over the following four days, the new fire exploded to 144,000 acres to become California’s latest megafire.

Read more at InsideClimate News.