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Since August 15th, over 650 wildfires have burned more than 1.3 million acres of land in California, a state used to battling wildfires. Although according to Cal Fire only seven people were dead, over 1400 buildings were destroyed. Many wonder why these fires continue to spark, and what is causing them.
Caused mainly by lightning and climate change, the main wildfires have been contained; however, people fear the worst is yet to come for California. The fires are kept strong by winds and the plentiful fuel-grass, trees, shrubs for fire to burn. Firefighters have little chance of putting out these fires until the winds die down, according to Jon Keeley, a research scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey. Luckily, the winds are currently low, and the air is relatively humid, which is helping the firefighters.
Cal Fire Operations Section Chief Mark Brunton said, “The weather’s really cooperating with us.”
In the northern part of California, many evacuation orders were lifted in Santa Clara County, Napa County, and Sonoma County. But less than an hour away in eastern San Jose and northern Bay Area, two of the larger fires are burning on, and are among the top three largest fires in California’s history. It is safe to say that the fires are far from dying, with the worst of them still yet to come.
Due to the fact that California is the most populated state, with over 39 million people as of 2020, the increasing population is causing fires and causing them to be more deadly. 95% of fires are caused by humans, but these fires were caused by lightning, with over 14,000 lightning strikes since it began on August 15th. Humans can cause major wildfires from small accidents such as a misplaced cigarette butt, a spark from a match, etc.
Although California is the main state with fires, there are other states in the U.S. that are burning with over 1.8 million acres (including California) in total. Some other states include Arizona, Oregon, Alaska, and Colorado.