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Heather Marshall stands by the destruction of her home at Coleman Creek Estates mobile home park in Phoenix, Ore., yesterday. Photo: Paula Bronstein

Six of the 20 largest wildfires in modern California history have been this year, the N.Y. Times reports (subscription) in "A Climate Reckoning in Fire-Stricken California."

What they're saying: "It's really shocking to see the number of fast-moving, extremely large and destructive fires simultaneously burning," Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, told The Times.

  • "I've spoken to maybe two dozen fire and climate experts over the last 48 hours and pretty much everyone is at a loss of words. There’s certainly been nothing in living memory on this scale."

The context: We can never remind you of this often enough: 18 of the warmest 19 years have occurred since 2001, according to NASA.

  • We just experienced the warmest decade ever.

The latest: 500,000 Oregonians — more than 10 percent of the state's 4.2 million people — have been told to evacuate as flames encroach, AP reports.

  • More than 1,400 square miles have burned in Oregon this week.
  • In Washington state, wildfires have scorched 937 square miles.
  • In a Northern California wildfire, 10 people are confirmed dead, as searchers look for 16 missing people.

Go deeper: Climate change affects what types of trees can be established after fires.

Go deeper

Biden to pick former EPA head Gina McCarthy as climate czar

Gina McCarthy. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

President-elect Joe Biden will tap Gina McCarthy, who led the Environmental Protection Agency under former President Obama, as White House climate czar, according to a person familiar with the news and multiple reports.

Driving the news: McCarthy will manage domestic climate policy alongside her deputy, Ali Zaidi, New York's current deputy secretary for energy and environment, as first reported by the Washington Post.

Column / Harder Line

How climate change feeds off itself and gets even worse

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Climate change is like a snowball effect, except, well, hot.

Why it matters: Like a snowball begins small and grows larger by building upon itself, numerous feedback loops embedded in our atmosphere and society are exacerbating climate change.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker