Sep 7, 2020 - Science

California wildfires raze a record 2 million acres

A firefighter douses flames as they push towards homes during the Creek fire in the Cascadel Woods area of unincorporated Madera County, California on September 7
A firefighter douses flames as they push towards homes during the Creek fire in Madera County, Calif., on Monday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

7,563 wildfires in California have burned across 2,178,015 acres this year, killing eight people and destroying or damaging 3,867 structures as of Monday, as firefighters battle two dozen major blazes in the state, per Cal Fire.

Why it matters: It's the most land burned by wildfires in California on record. The size of land charred is 10 times bigger than New York City.

  • It breaks the previous record set in 2018, when wildfires burned across 1,893,913 acres — though that year remains the deadliest, with 85 people losing their lives.

What they're saying: Cal Fire Capt. Richard Cordova described the situation as "crazy."

  • "We haven't even got into the October and November fire season, and we've broken the all-time record," Cordova told CNN.
  • "It concerns us because we need to get these firefighters off these lines and get them breaks from battling these wildfires."

Of note: More than 14,100 firefighters are currently battling blazes in hot, dry, windy conditions.

  • "Much of California is currently under a Red Flag Warning," Cal Fire said in a statement.
  • The agency has increased staffing "in preparation for critical fire weather in multiple areas" of the state.
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