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article imageCalifornia wildfires have burned close to 4 million acres

By Karen Graham     Oct 2, 2020 in Environment
California is poised to hit a fearsome milestone: 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) burned this year by wildfires that have killed 31 people and incinerated hundreds of homes in what is already the worst fire season on record.
California Governor Gavin Newsom toured fire-ravaged Napa County on Thursday and said the state was putting “all we have in terms of resources” into firefighting, according to the Associated Press. Standing in front of a burned-out school house, Newsom said: I’ve got four young kids in elementary school and I can’t imagine for the children and parents, the families, that may be seeing these images, what’s going through your minds."
The state's unprecedented fire season has already resulted in the deaths of 31 people and the destruction of thousands of homes and buildings, forcing the evacuation of over 96,000 people. “We’re not just here for a moment. We’re here to rebuild and to reimagine your school,” Newsom said, adding: “We have your backs.”
The Glass Fire started on September 27 in Napa County and has now raced through 60,148 acres in Napa and Sonoma counties. Just 6 percent of the fire has been contained as of today, according to Cal Fire. The Glass Fire is the fourth major fire in the region in the last three years, and comes ahead of the third anniversary of an Oct. 8, 2017, wildfire that killed 22 people, reports the East Bay Times.
Around the state, 17,000 firefighters are battling over two dozen major fires, including the August Complex Fire that includes the counties of Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, Tehama, Glenn, Lake, and Colusa. This fire has burned 153,226 acres and is now 51 percent contained.
According to Cal Fire Deputy Chief Jonathan Cox, nearly all the damage has been done since mid-August, when five of the six largest fires in California's history erupted. He says a total of 3.9 million acres in California have been scorched since August 15. That figure, which works out to over 6,000 square miles (15,500 square kilometers), is astonishing even in a state that has had its fair share of fires.
"It’s likely that over the next day or two we will crest the 4-million-acre mark. The biggest year before this year was 1.54 million,” Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said. “We are dwarfing that previous record and we have a lot of season left to go.”
About 150 miles (240 kilometers) to the north of wine country, the Zogg Fire, which also erupted during Sunday’s high winds and grew quickly, has killed four people. As of Friday, the blaze has consumed 56,018 acres and is 46 percent contained.
The National Weather Service has extended a Red Flag warning of critical fire weather conditions, through Saturday morning in the Northern part of the state. The NWS warns that winds are expected to increase "from 10 to 20 mph."
More about California, Wildfires, 4 million acres, 31 people dead, Climate change
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