California Wildfires Set New Record Burning Over 4 Million Acres

by Halle Ames

This year in California, the deadly wildfires have set a record for the most acres burned in a single year. This year’s fires have ravaged more than four million acres so far.

The announcement came on Sunday from officials about the shocking record. This fire season has charmed over four million acres, with months still left in the season. 

The Golden State has seen enough destruction to cover more than the whole state of Connecticut. Unfortunately, it has also more than doubles the previous record for devastation done in a single year. In 2018, the fire season was the worst prior to this year, with 1.67 million acres burnt across California. 

Residents on the West Coast have been faced with burn homes, apocalyptic skies, and suffocating smoke that has traveled across the country. 

“The 4 million mark is unfathomable. It boggles the mind, and it takes your breath away,” said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). “And that number will grow.”

Thus far, California has seen more than 8,200 wildfires, killing over 40 people said Cal Fire in a statement on Sunday. In addition, the flames have destroyed over 8,400 buildings. 

According to Cal Fire, since its start in 1933, all large fire years have been well below the four million mark, “until now’.

‘This year is far from over, and fire potential remains high. Please be cautious outdoors.’ 

To add to the destruction, last month brought a relentless heatwave that fueled the fires and added so much air pollution that it traveled indoors. This led to most stores across the state to sell out of air purifiers.

California Climate Change and the Hope

The fires have been linked back to climate change, making hotter temperatures, drier air and foliage, lightning strikes, and strong winds. These create a recipe for disaster for California residents.

Mike Flannigan, director of Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science at Canada’s University of Alberta, said that the West Coast’s wildfires are “largely, not solely, due to human-caused climate change.”

On the other hand, there are signs of hope. Strong winds have died down. Warnings of extreme fire danger for hot, dry and gusty weather expired Saturday morning. Clearing skies have allowed air tankers to drop flame retardant on high-risk areas. Finally, there is also the possibility of rain early this week. 

“If the weather does what is predicted, we’re on that glide path, I hope,” said Mclean. “But that doesn’t diminish the amount of work that still needs to be done.”

[H/T Daily Mail]