Four weeks in, and the Rim Fire is the third largest wildfire in modern California state history. It has consumed nearly 400 square miles, or a quarter of a million acres of meadows, timber, and other pristine habitat through parts of Yosemite National Forest and beyond.
The scope of something that massive and unforgiving can be difficult to wrap your head around, even if forest fires are the new normal. This visualization by Berlin's OpenDataCity charts how the fire, started by a hunter (not a pot farmer), has spread over the past few weeks, an epic bleed across the Sierra Nevada. What really drives home this sort of disaster is how the feature allows you to overlay other cities for comparison. Here's Manhattan:
As of this writing, the Rim Fire is 80 percent contained, according to the National Park Service. The government is prepping some 50 scientists and engineers who'll head out in the coming days to survey the damage before the first storms of the rainy season. It's part of a scrambling overhaul of how to go about fighting gargantuan fires moving forward—turns out drones make great firefighters—and how to best prevent and cope with epic loss, because for all we know things are just going to get worse.