California Wildfires are Already Outpacing Last Year’s Historic Fire Season

Photo: Pacific Southwest Forest Service, USDA

It’s only May 5th and we may already be on the verge of another historic fire season in California.

Cal Fire reported today that 13,604 acres have burned from 1,788 wildfires throughout the state in 2021. At this point in 2020, only 1,726 acres had burned. The significant increase could be a scary sign of a devastating fire season to come.

In 2020, the state saw 4,397,809 acres (roughly 4 percent of the entire state), making it the largest wildfire season ever recorded in California’s history. Most of those fires occurred in Northern California, with large fires like the Red Salmon Complex (144,698 acres), SCU Lightning Complex (396,624 acres), LNU Lightning Complex (363,220 acres), North Complex (318,935 acres) and August Complex (1,032,648 acres) burning more than 2,225,000 acres combined.

Also, five of the the six largest fires in the state’s history happened in 2020:

Many of the large fires that burned in 2020 were caused by lightning strikes, which could hopefully subside in 2021. And, sadly enough, the many millions of acres burned over the past 3 years limits the fire threat in those areas already burned.

But with California seeing its third driest precipitation year in recorded history, following multiple dry years, wildfire could make a significant impact on the region this year. Cal Fire is calling for residents to begin preparing for the threat of fire in their area. Here are their recommendations to be prepared for wildfire:

  1. CREATE YOUR DEFENSIBLE SPACE – Create and maintain 100 feet of Defensible Space around your home
  2. HARDEN YOUR HOME – Use ember-resistant building materials to protect your home
  3. GET YOUR KIT READY NOW – Create your own emergency supply kit
  4. CREATE YOUR OWN WILDFIRE ACTION PLAN – Develop your family communication and evacuation plans
  5. PREPARE NOW! – Wildfire Danger is High! Prepare your Family Now.
  6. READY, SET, GO! CAMPAIGN – Access and request campaign materials and graphics

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