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Opinion | I’ve Never Seen the American West in Such Deep Distress

Here is another bit of insanity in the hellscape of this season: Wyoming’s desperate effort to hold on to its earth-killing coal plants is a contributing cause to all the climate-change fires.

An unrelated thought: How come Wyoming, with a falling population of 567,000, has two United States senators, while Washington, D.C., with more than 700,000 people, has none?

Colorado’s skies were blood red, another Rocky Mountain sigh, as we came under the cloud of the Cameron Peak Fire, one of the 10 largest in state history, all of them coming since 2002.

The authorities urged everyone to stay indoors. My parked car, in Boulder, took on a coat of falling ash. Overnight, temperatures dropped 50 degrees, and by morning snow was falling on cedars and muffling some of the fires along the Front Range.

Back home, an endangered orca named Tahlequah, who had captured the world’s attention when she carried her dead baby for 17 days in 2018, gave birth to a healthy calf. New life in the Salish Sea, fresh snow on the Flatirons; it was enough of a hint that nature can make things right, if only we give it a chance.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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Timothy Egan (@nytegan) is a contributing opinion writer who covers the environment, the American West and politics. He is a winner of the National Book Award and author, most recently, of “A Pilgrimage to Eternity.”

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