California’s Wildfire Season Has Ravaged Nearly 10,000 Acres So Far

And it’s only just beginning.

National Journal
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Marina Koren
May 15, 2014, 12:20 p.m.

Cali­for­nia’s fire­fight­ers have been work­ing over­time thanks to a more fe­ro­cious wild­fire sea­son.

The Golden State, as well as parts of Mex­ico to the south, have been bone-dry for months be­cause of little rain­fall and re­cord-high tem­per­at­ures, which have cre­ated the per­fect con­di­tions for in­creased fire activ­ity. As of Thursday, brush fires in Cali­for­nia had burned nearly 10,000 acres, des­troyed 30 homes, threatened mul­tiple mil­it­ary fa­cil­it­ies, and forced thou­sands to evac­u­ate.

To make mat­ters worse, Thursday has been the hot­test day of the week so far, with highs between 98 and 106 de­grees Fahren­heit, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tion­al Weath­er Ser­vice.

The wild­fires are so large they can be clearly seen from space. In this photo, cap­tured by a NASA satel­lite on Wed­nes­day, thick plumes of smoke from brush fires, from Cali­for­nia to Mex­ico, drift west­ward to the Pa­cific Ocean.

To break its his­tor­ic drought, Cali­for­nia would need to see 9 to 15 inches of pre­cip­it­a­tion in one month. That’s more than half a year’s worth of av­er­age rain­fall for the state.

The worst may be yet to come. Wild­fire sea­son peaks in the sum­mer and lasts un­til fall.