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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.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Aug 31, 2020 - Energy & Environment
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.

What happens now that emergency orders are lifting

Expand chart
Data: National Academy for State Health Policy and various governor declarations; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Soon, more than half the states will have ended their formal emergency declarations for the pandemic — which could have a ripple of effects across the economy.

Why it matters: Lifting those orders will allow businesses to serve more customers, but will also end certain safety nets, including expanded food and housing assistance, as well as eviction protections.