California Wildfires

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Mike_Lewelling, via Plex.page

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Starting in August and continuing now, an obscured amount of wildfires have occurred and have burned a record-breaking 4 million acres of land. That is 26 times more than what was burned in 2019 and double the amount that was ever burned in a single season. Since the start of the year, 8,200 wildfires have started, resulting in 31 fatalities, and more than 8,454 structures have been destroyed. Due to the fires, over 15,000 people have been evacuated. Unfortunately, not all of them have come back to see their homes. Some have reported coming back to their home, only to see all of their belongings destroyed. Lightning strikes, especially dry lightning, have caused most of these recent fires. Dry lightning is when there is a lightning strike somewhere without any precipitation. These lightning strikes can happen up to 10 miles away from a storm, making these types of lightning notorious for causing fires. What makes these types of fires dangerous is that if these lightning strikes happen in a remote area, it could take days or even weeks to locate the fire. By then, the fire could have already grown into a massive wildfire.

Right now, over 16,000 firefighters are working feverishly to contain the 22 wildfires raging across the state. The primary five fires are about 30-76% contained. The biggest one, the August Complex, is about 54% contained at the moment. The huge wildfire has been going on for more than 50 days and spans more than 1 million acres. Speaking of the August Complex, August was one of the worst months for fires. Five of the six worst wildfires in California history were caused in only that month. These deadly fires have not only put thousands of lives at risk, but they also have led to heavy pollution in the air. In August and September, air quality was at one of the lowest it has ever been, and for a few days, the sky turned red. Ashes from the fires covered cars and homes miles away. Some places ended up looking like they were on Mars. Fighting the fires has been difficult due to the extreme heatwave and low humidity, but fortunately, temperatures seem to be cooling down in upcoming weeks. Rainfall is also expected in the next few weeks. Although wildfire season continues, the next few weeks are looking good for the firefighters.