California’s 2.2 million-acre wildfires are again on record—, making this year’s fire the most extensive on record,media reported. In addition, the fire has killed eight people and destroyed 3,300 buildings. The second- and third-largest fires in the state’s history — the SCU and LNU lightning complexes in northern California — are burning at the same time.
The region’s absurdly hot temperatures are understood to have set more records and sparked new fires over the Labor Day weekend. On September 6, the temperature in Woodland Hills, California, rose to 121 degrees Fahrenheit. It was the highest temperature on record in Los Angeles County.
Yet the danger is not over. California is forecast to cool down this week, but firefighters are bracing for new threats. Santa Ana and Diablo winds are expected to sweep across the state and cause more trouble today and tomorrow. Hot, dry sea breezes cause problems earlier than usual — they usually start starting fires in October.
Nick Nauslar, a fire forecaster at the National Inter-Departmental Fire Center, tweeted yesterday: “The number of large active fires that will experience severe fire weather is alarming and worrying. This in itself can cause fires, and dozens of large fires are now affected by strong winds/low humidity. “
Yesterday (September 8), California National Guard helicopters rescued 200 campers trapped in the Creek fire at Sierra National Forest Park in Fresno County. Helicopter operations to rescue people trapped in the Creek fire continued this morning, with more than 7,500 fires reported to be burning in the state. The intense heat of the Creek fire also formed its own weather, producing what is known as a thunderstorm cloud and rising to a nine-mile high sky.
The National Fire Center predicts that the “fire peak” will continue into mid-September because of the drought in the west. Cool temperatures and rain will give California a respite at the end of the month before october’s winds become a problem again.
California’s wildfires will burn more and more as greenhouse gases keep the planet warm. According to a 2019 report, the amount of land burned in the state has increased fivefold each year over the past 50 years.
Until the record is broken in 2020, 2018 will have the highest burning area in a year. That year, the Camp fire that nearly destroyed Paradise, California, became the deadliest and most destructive fire in the state’s history. Worryingly, California’s 2018 record — 1.9 million acres burned — was set in November of that year. This year, the fire broke that record on September 7th, and with nearly four months to go until 2020, California’s wildfire season is likely to get worse.