Historic California wildfires are larger, but not deadlier

AP Photo/Noah Berger, File


The wildfires in California have burned over four million acres, with the August Complex fire burning over one million acres.

With months still to go in California’s fire season, the state has already shattered records for the amount of land scorched in a single year.

“The 4 million mark is unfathomable. It boggles the mind, and it takes your breath away,” Scott McLean, a spokesperson for Cal Fire, told The Associated Press.

However, with the high acreage, the deaths are not as high as expected. The 8,700 buildings destroyed and 31 lives lost are high, but far from the highest. Blazes in 2018 killed 100 people and destroyed 22,000 structures in the most devastating year on record. A year earlier, at least 37 people were killed. Numerous studies have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change that has left California much drier, meaning trees and other plants are more flammable. Officials say this year’s blazes eclipse anything they’ve seen, reported Associated Press.

“Our top priority is firefighter and public safety,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kate White said Monday. “It’s been hard for the communities who have had to go through this. We want to make sure we’re doing what we can and providing the support we can.”

Governor Newsom has stated numerous times the ongoing fires are due to climate change. As an example, he tweeted a photo of him standing with Kamala Harris among fire damage.

“Our top priority is firefighter and public safety,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kate White said Monday. “It’s been hard for the communities who have had to go through this. We want to make sure we’re doing what we can and providing the support we can.”

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced due to current evacuation orders in several counties.

The Glass Fire is 66,840 acres and 50% contained. 21,785 structures are threatened, 1,411 structures have been destroyed and 270 structures have been damaged. 20 helicopters, 409 engines, 48 dozers and 48 water tenders are working to contain the Glass Fire.

The August Complex’s is over one million acres and is 58% contained. 15 helicopters, 185 engines, 39 dozers, 40 water tenders are working to contain the fire.
“We are in the peak of a historic fire season, so we still have a lot left to go…Just based on what I’m seeing, I would expect that full containment is going to be pushed out,” said Christine McMorrow, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
 

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