WILDFIRES have been raging across California, burning through acres of land, while destroying homes and precious forestry.
Extremely hot weather and dry landscape has made the West Coast state susceptible – plaguing neighboring Oregon in equal measure.
What caused the California wildfires?
The latest set of Californian wildfires have been caused by severe rising heat temperatures across the Western States.
It has been coupled with drought conditions that have been compounded after the state experienced its driest 12 months on record.
Wildfires usually start by the heat of the sun causing a small fire to break out in woodlands, which grows as it consumes the flammable material around it.
They have already caused fatalities in 2021, killing two firefighters in neighboring Oregon as the fire ate up 143,607 acres of land.
All together, experts believe that these factors have created a perfect recipe for further devastation this season.
Max Moritz, a wildfire expert with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Santa Barbara, said: “We’re off to a daunting start.
"We're starting off much drier and we're seeing more fires much earlier than usual."
And while heat is largely the cause, there have also been many reports of some of the newest wildfires breaking out because of lightning strikes and wild tornadoes.
A total of 4,152 fires have been recorded in California in 2021, according to Cal Fire figures.
How hot is it on the west coast?
According to ABC, temperatures have been hitting record highs across the state.
In Death Valley, temperatures reached a record 57 degrees – one of the hottest spells on record.
Palm Springs, Southern California, hit a record high temperature of 49 degrees.
In California's agricultural Central Valley, 100-degree temperatures blanketed the region, with Fresno reaching 44 degrees just one degree short of the all-time high for the date.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas tied the all-time record high of 47 degrees.
As a result, The National Weather Service warned the dangerous conditions could cause heat-related illnesses and have advised people to stay safe.
Equally, the California Independent System Operator warned of potential power shortage.
So far, over 120 families have been evacuated from the fires according to the Washington Post.
When else have wildfires hit the western states?
California has seen some of the largest, deadliest and most destructive fires in state history.
2020 was a particularly bad year after an extremely rare lightning siege started hundreds of wildfires, scorching a record 4.3 million acres.
- December 2017 – 281,893 acres of land and 23 structureS damaged in Santa Barbara. It led to 23 fatalities.
- July 2018 – 459,123 acres of land damaged in Menocnono Lake.
- July 2018 – Later that summer, a further eight people died from a serious wildfire that burned 229,000 acre in Shasta Trinity.
- August 2020 –California declared a state of emergency after the extreme temperatures caused more fires to break out, many sparked by lightning strikes.
- The state also had to deal with mass power outages as residents desperately turned up their air conditioners.
- By the end of the year 9,917 fires had burned 4,397,809 acres – more than 4 percent of the state's roughly 100 million acres of land.
- 2020 was the largest wildfire season recorded in California’s modern history.
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