Wildfires Grow on Epic Scale

One California fire alone is burning across 1M acres
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 5, 2020 12:50 PM CDT
Wildfires Grow on Epic Scale
In this Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, file photo, Firefighters protect a home in the Berryessa Estates neighborhood of unincorporated Napa County, Calif., as the LNU Lightning Complex fires burn.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

The staggering scale of California's wildfires reached another milestone Monday: A single fire surpassed 1 million acres, the AP reports. The new mark for the August Complex in the Coast Range between San Francisco and the Oregon border came a day after the total area of land burned by California wildfires this year passed 4 million acres, more than double the previous record. The August Complex began as dozens of fires ignited by lightning in the Mendocino National Forest in mid-August and became California's largest fire on record in September. As of Monday, it covered nearly 1,566 square miles. Officials say that since the beginning of the year, more than 8,200 California wildfires have scorched "well over 4 million acres" or 6,250 square miles.

There have been 31 deaths and more than 8,400 buildings have been destroyed. Numerous studies have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change from the burning of coal, oil, and gas. Scientists say climate change has made California much drier, meaning trees and other plants are more flammable. Mike Flannigan, a professor in Canada, says the escalation of fires in California and the US West is "largely, not solely, due to human-caused climate change." Meanwhile, containment of the August Complex was estimated at 54% on Monday. California remains largely warm and dry but fierce winds that fanned infernos a week ago are gone. Cooling at the coast is expected to expand into the interior and a Pacific storm system remains in the forecast for Northern California by next weekend.

(Read more California wildfires stories.)

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