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Aerial view of burnt properties in the Berryessa Highlands neighborhood of Lake Berryessa, California, on Aug. 31. Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

The August Complex north of Sacramento is the biggest wildfire event in California history, burning more than 471,000 acres and surpassing 2018's Mendocino Complex fire, which burned more than 459,000 acres, according to state officials cited by the New York Times.

Why it matters: The August Complex, a collection of more than 30 separate blazes in the Mendocino National Forest, was started by a lightening storm. It has destroyed at least 26 structures and is responsible for one fatality to date. It is one of several major fires currently spread across the state.

  • Though it is the largest blaze by acres burned, it has been less ruinous than other recent fires. The 2018 Camp fire burned 18,000 structures and killed 85 people in the vicinity of Paradise, California.

The big picture: Since the start of 2020, wildfires have scorched more than 3.1 million acres across the state, killing 12 people and damaging more than 3,900 structures, according to Cal Fire. Roughly 14,000 firefighters are currently battling 29 major wildfires across California.

  • Wildfires across the state have forced more than 64,000 people to evacuate, Daniel Berlant, a spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the Times.

Context: Almost 50,000 wildfires blackened at least 4.6 million acres in the U.S. in 2019, about a 46% drop in acres burned and an 11% decrease in total fires from the 2018 fire season.

Go deeper

Over 300,000 Californians affected by PG&E blackouts

High tension towers in Los Angeles. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced Sunday that it would begin power shut-offs for roughly 361,000 California customers due to dry weather that could risk wildfire spread.

Where it stands: Cal Fire identified two new fire incidents late on Sunday that have spread through 70 acres. Two other major fires in the state are 80% and 30% contained.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

2 hours ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.