Freaky weather conditions unleashed by climate change and “never seen before” in Utah’s highlands are making wildfires more difficult and dangerous to control because fire managers’ experience is becoming increasingly irrelevant for predicting the behavior of blazes. That’s a key takeaway from a new analysis of one of the most threatening wildfires in Utah history. Last year’s Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires started with lightning strikes two weeks and 6 miles apart around Mount Nebo and persisted as tiny blazes that U.S. Forest Service officials opted against stomping out as they burned harmlessly for several days last September. Until, that is, unrelenting high winds kicked the flames into high gear. The political fallout in the wake of what became the Pole Creek/Bald Mountain “megafire” was radioactive, fraught with second-guessing and even calls for criminal charges against federal officials for allegedly “letting” the flames get out of control.