Wildfires have destroyed 8K structures and burned 4M acres in record-setting year

Statewide totals include August Complex fire, the state’s largest ever, which has cut through nearly 1M acres

A home burns during the Complex fire (Credit JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images):
A home burns during the Complex fire (Credit JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images):

California hit a milestone over the weekend it never wanted to reach: wildfires have now burned more than 4 million acres this year, double the previous record set in 2018.

The fires have killed more than 31 people and destroyed more than 8,200 structures, burning an area roughly the size of Connecticut, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Despite this year’s damage totals, fires in 2018 caused more deaths and destroyed more developed property. More than 100 people died in 2018, most of them in the Camp fire. Pacific Gas & Electric was responsible for that blaze.

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Statewide in 2018, about 17,000 homes were burned and 700 businesses destroyed that year.

This year, the fires have burned across California, although heavy damage has been sustained in the north. The largest in Southern California is the Bobcat fire burning in and around the San Gabriel Mountains. It has burned more than 115,000 acres over the last month and is 84 percent contained.

The largest fire currently burning in the state is the August Complex, burning about 140 miles north of San Francisco in and around Mendocino National Forest. It’s the largest fire in state history and has burned more than 993,000 acres over the last 50 days; it is just 54 percent contained.

Most of the fires this year were started by lightning strikes. Scientists say that an unusually dry winter, along with effects of climate change have contributed to the ferocity of the fires. [LAT]Dennis Lynch