Welcome to the Age of Fire: California wildfires explained

By Julie Cart
Jefferson Public Radio
July 8, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

After two mild wildfire seasons, California is bracing for whatever 2024 brings. Favorable weather marked 2023 and 2022, when the total acreage burned — less than 400,000 acres each year — was considerably lower than the state’s 5-year average of more than 2.3 million acres. But 2024 has already started in a worrisome way, particularly in areas where two heavy rainy seasons fueled thick grasses and brush. The Post Fire in the Gorman area of Los Angeles County burned almost 16,000 acres in its first three days and remained active for 11 days in June. The fire raged in steep, hard-to-reach areas, and Cal Fire noted that “fire weather conditions” — gusty winds and warm temperatures — were making it even more difficult to control. Now the Thompson Fire in Oroville is commanding attention, with mandatory evacuation orders issued to about 13,000 residents during an extreme heatwave.

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