Even in a year of records, this one is eye-popping: The August Complex Fire, which long ago became the state’s largest ever, has now scorched over 1 million acres since it was sparked by lightning on August 10.
The 1 million acres destroyed by this single fire complex is far more than average total area burned across the entire state in the past 5 years. As of October 4, the average total of acres burned in each year was 348,000.
The massive August Complex Fire’s West Zone, which is its most active, is still only 60% contained.
Collectively, as of Sunday the California wildfires had scorched over 4 million acres. That’s historically remarkable, according to Cal Fire, which has records back to 1933.
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Since CAL FIRE officially began recording state responsibility fire figures in 1933, all large fire years have remained well below the 4 million acre mark for acreage burned, until now. This year is far from over and fire potential remains high. Please be cautious outdoors. pic.twitter.com/IkwjSqEeVo
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) October 4, 2020
For comparison, the state’s previous record wildfire year, 2018, saw a total of 1.96 million acres consumed by flames. That year saw the Mendocino Complex blaze which was then state’s largest at 459,123 acres. In November of that year, the 153,000-acre Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise, killing 85 people. That remains California’s deadliest blaze.
Cal Fire released the following summary for the August Complex Fire on Monday:
Temperatures remained high with low humidity and poor recovery predicted overnight. The fire burned persistently with north, north-west winds and wind gusts driving smoke and embers back towards firefighters as they worked to reinforce containment lines, identify any hazards, build indirect lines for firing operations, insert hose lays to support fire lines and protect structures. Crews were successful in performing firing operations, which helped secure a corner portion of the fire, resulting in strengthening the containment line outside the community of Covelo. Fire activity continued to burn into the wilderness area at a southeast direction near Redrock. Assistance continues on the August Complex – North Zone. Incident Commanders are actively monitoring the fire burning in the Yolla-Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness, which is part of the August Complex – North Zone.
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