Spanning a record-breaking 4 Million acres, California’s wildfires broke records over the weekend as they doubled last year’s scope, without showing any signs of receding any time soon. As of now, more than 6,250 square miles os the Western state has been scorched, as fire daughters continue to wage a war against the inferno.
“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 Prevention, also known as Cal Fire. The previous record was set in 2018 when fires burned 1.67 million acres.
Destroying over 8,454 structures and taking 31 lives till now, Cal Fire has reported one fire, the August Complex in Tehama County, and Mendocino National Forest, is currently California’s largest single wildfire since the state began collecting data in the 1930s. The August Complex has consumed 970,563 acres by itself — and is only listed as 54 percent contained as of Sunday evening, according to The Post.
Stating that there might be some respite in store, with cooler weathers on the cards, Cal Fire meteorologist Tom Bird said at a news briefing on Sunday, “We are seeing some relief in the weather, but it’s going to be three of four days before it really makes a difference on the fire. The one good thing going forward, we’re not expecting any wind events to push into the fire.”
Although many people have started returning to their homes, more than 30,000 individuals are still under evacuation orders including the entire population of the Napa County town of Calistoga.
A situation that is only set to get worse with the fast-paced climate change, experts have directly pointed towards rising temperatures as the causal effect of California’s wildfires.
According to a study conducted by researchers at UCLA and Stanford and cited by Scientific American, average temperatures in California in the last 40 years have risen 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, while average precipitation has decreased by 30 percent during the same time period.
“This is an unprecedented year and the thing is there’s no vaccine for wildfire. We’re going to have to learn to live with wildfires and the associate smoke,” said Mike Flannigan, the director of the Canadian Partnership for Wildland Fire Science at Canada’s University of Alberta.
Source: The New York