The 2017 wildfire season was arguably one of the worst in history for the American West. In California alone, nearly 9,000 wildfires burned 1.2 million acres of land, destroyed more than 10,800 structures, and killed 46 people. Beyond California, there were significant fires in Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Utah, and Texas. The scope of 2017’s fires drew media attention worldwide, and sparked conversations about wildfire prevention and planning (most of the fires were human-caused).
In March 2017, the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) made history: it became the first bee species in the continental U.S. to land a spot on the endangered species list. The bumble bee joined seven bee species native to Hawaii already on the list. These seven species – all yellow faced bees added to the list in 2016 – were the first bees to be given protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).