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California Wildfires Have Burned 4 Million Acres And The Season Isn’t Over Yet

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"The 4 million mark is unfathomable. It boggles the mind, and it takes your breath away," a spokesperson for Cal Fire said.

Aired: October 5, 2020 | Transcript

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Photo by Josh Edelson AFP via Getty Images

More than 4 million acres have burned in California during this year's wildfire season. Nearly 17,000 firefighters are still working to contain at least 23 major fires in the state.

California hit a grim milestone on Sunday as the total number of acres burned this wildfire season crossed 4 million, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

The agency said that since it started recording the amount of land burned in a single season the state had never surpassed 2 million acres until this year.

"The 4 million mark is unfathomable. It boggles the mind, and it takes your breath away," Scott McLean, a spokesperson for Cal Fire, told The Associated Press.

As of Sunday, Cal Fire says the state has seen more than 8,200 fires this year, with 31 fatalities and more than 8,454 structures destroyed. Nearly 17,000 firefighters are still working to contain at least 23 major fires in the state.

The August Complex Fire continues to be the biggest in the state and has been active for 48 days. Fire activity increased on Saturday as the fire got hold of more oxygen when winds cleared some of the smoke "lid" over the fire. The fire was 51% contained and covering an area of 985,304 acres, as of Sunday morning.

The Glass Fire started last Sunday and continues to burn in California's Napa and Sonoma counties. As of Sunday morning the fire covered 63,885 acres and was 17% contained. Windy conditions as well as warm and dry weather and low fuel moisture are factors in the fire's active behavior, Cal Fire said in a statement.

The Zogg Fire also started last Sunday and continues to be active, covering 56,305 acres and is 68% contained. Cal Fire said firefighters would continue to increase containment on Sunday as some areas reopened with the lifting of some evacuation orders.

With a world that's getting hotter, wildfires and other natural disasters are getting more destructive. And while officials are battling the actual blazes, this year they've also had to fight back against rumors surrounding the cause of the fires.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Aired: October 5, 2020 | Transcript

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