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Blackened and charred hills from the Woolsey Fire which made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

California is never immune to big fires, but a look at the past 13 months reveals a horrifying path of destruction that deserves equal screen time to the latest political intrigues.

Driving the news: Parts of the state are blanketed in smoke, with temperatures dropping as a result and residents scrambling to get specialized masks to help filter the air. The state's air quality is currently the worst in the nation as a result of the fires, Bloomberg reports.

By the numbers over the past 13 months, per CalFire (** indicates active fire):

  1. Mendocino Complex: 459,123 acres, 280 structures, 1 death
  2. Thomas: 281,893 acres; 1,063 structures; 2 deaths
  3. Carr: 229,651 acres; 1,604 structures; 8 deaths
  4. Witch: 197,990 acres; 1,650 structures, 2 deaths
  5. **Camp: 142,000 acres; 12,256 structures; 66 deaths
  6. **Woolsey: Nearly 100,000 acres; ~600 structures; 3 deaths
  7. Nuns: 54,382 acres; 1,355 structures; 3 deaths
  8. Tubbs: 36,807 acres; 5,636 structures, 22 deaths

The big picture: 14 of the 20 most destructive fires in the state have been since 2000, along with 15 of the 20 largest by acreage.

Rescue workers search the Paradise Gardens apartments for victims of the Camp Fire. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The robotaxi era will require a rethinking of vehicle safety

Zoox's robotaxi is bidirectional and includes more than 100 safety innovations. Photo: Zoox

Vehicles are being reimagined as autonomous, electric, toaster-shaped robotaxis. Now their safety has to be reworked too.

The big picture: There's more to self-driving cars than just removing the steering wheel and pedals. The entire vehicle needs to be redesigned for riders, not drivers, so their safety can be assured even when they're not in control.

Apple puts antitrust bills in privacy spotlight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Apple warned Wednesday that new antitrust legislation would place iPhone customers' privacy and security at risk by limiting the company's control over what apps users can install.

Driving the news: Apple CEO Tim Cook called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats to argue that the antitrust bills would hurt innovation and consumers, per a New York Times report.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The small business boom

Expand chart
Data: Census Bureau via John C. Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the most unexpected pandemic winners might just turn out to be new small businesses.

Why it matters: The number of entrepreneurs starting a business easily hit a record high in 2020, according to a new analysis by University of Maryland economist John Haltiwanger. That's a surprising result, given the severity of the crisis.