I guess it's a seasonal combination of lack of rain, making the forests overly dry, combined with wind patterns that quickly spread fires once they start. I suppose they can start from lightning strikes, careless campers, or maybe someone flicking a still-lighted cigarette butt out of their car.
I hope none of those fires are near you, Rooster!
I think both parties were more reasonable in those days. The Northern Democrat/Dixiecrat coalition, artificial as at was, kept the Democrats from going too batsh*t crazy left, and the Republicans were moderate center/right.
That all changed when the Dixiecrats became Republicans and pulled the party too far right, and the remaining liberal Democrats went too far left.