California’s wildfires are now burning through land at a pace more than three times faster than last year’s blazes.
About 4,200 fires have charred 726,000 acres (294,000 hectares) in the state so far this year, according to figures from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. That compares to about 226,000 acres at this point last year. The figures do not include blazes on U.S. Forest Service land.
The fires come as much of the western U.S. has been gripped by hot, dry air. Abnormally arid conditions persist in more than 11 western states, with more than half the region experiencing drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
There are currently nine large fires burning across California, including one north of San Francisco in Mendocino and Lake counties that’s the largest in state history. By this time last year, the most deadly California fires hadn’t even begun. The Tubbs, Redwood Valley and Atlas fires, which together killed 37 people, were all in October.
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