Jun 27, 2016

California's wildfires just tripled in size

Kern County, CA
USA
by
Will Greenberg
,
Mother Jones
The Eskrine Fire still burns in Kern County. Photo: Cal Fire Twitter account
The Eskrine Fire still burns in Kern County. Photo: Cal Fire Twitter account

 

When it comes to forest fires, California can't seem to catch a break.

Last year was a hellacious one for uncontrolled burns, and 2016 is looking just as bad. In the past week, the number of acres scorched by wildfire has tripled from around 32,000 to more than 98,000, according to the state's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The number of fires the department, known simply as Cal Fire, has responded to is slightly above the seasonal five year average. But it's early in the fire season...

In recent years, drought conditions have fueled fires across the state...

In addition, thanks to prolonged drought and hungry bark beetles, California has more than 66 million dead trees, the US Forest Service estimates—more than double last year's count. In short, the state is a tinderbox