The Press Democrat reports that the largest wildfire ever recorded in California needed just 11 days to blacken an area nearly the size of Los Angeles — and it’s only one of many enormous blazes that could make this the worst fire season in state history.
Some 14,000 firefighters from as far away as Florida and even New Zealand are struggling to curb 18 fires in the midst of a sweltering summer that has seen wind-whipped flames carve their way through national forest land and rural areas, threaten urban areas and incinerate neighborhoods.
“For whatever reason, fires are burning much more intensely, much more quickly than they were before,” said Mark A. Hartwig, president of the California Fire Chiefs Association.
California is seeing earlier, longer and more destructive wildfire seasons because of drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and home construction deeper into the forests.
Some of the largest fires have erupted just within the past few weeks as the state has seen record-setting temperatures — and the historically worst months of wildfire season are still to come.