A dry winter and early heat waves have the entire State of California is in the grip of drought, much of it classified as extreme or exceptional. There is little wonder why, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. So far this year, the number of wildfires and the amount of land burned in bone dry California has greatly exceed totals for the same period in the disastrous wildfire year of 2020. Between 1st January 1, 2021 and July 4, 2021, there have been 4,599 separate fires that have scorched 114.8 square miles. In the same time frame last year, there were 3,847 fires that blackened 48.6 square miles (126 square kilometers). By the end of 2020, a total of 9,917 wildfires had charred a record 6,653 square miles (17,231 square kilometers) and damaged or destroyed 10,488 structures. Thirty-three people were killed. This year’s increased wildfire activity, which has damaged or destroyed 91 structures, has been driven by hot and dry conditions, Cal Fire said this week. Similar stories are being told about forestland in Oregon, Washington State, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho and British Columbia.
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Pace of California wildfires well ahead of disastrous 2020