Story at a glance

  • As fires ravage Northern California, the state is set to cross the threshold of 4 million acres burned in the 2020 wildfire season.
  • The Glass Fire is currently the most urgent and threatening wildfire.

With 22 separate fires currently burning in California, the state hit a sad milestone: Nearly 4 million acres have been scorched in this year’s wildfire season, The Associated Press reported Friday.

The total area devastated by wildfires in California is larger than the state of Connecticut. The fires have killed 30 people and destroyed thousands of structures. Eerie red-orange skies and hazardous air quality drifting as far as Europe have also been recorded over the course of the season.

While fires have plagued both the northern and southern parts of the state, the Glass Fire has overtaken wine country in Northern California. It has currently torn through 60,148 acres and is only 6 percent contained, according to Cal Fire records.


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Both Napa and Sonoma counties have evacuation orders in place, along with the cities Calistoga and Santa Rosa. The fire has been active for four days, and experts predict that high temperatures, low humidity, high fuel loads and high wind speeds make a perfect storm to fan the flames.

“It’s a time of nervousness,” Paul Gullixson, a spokesman for Sonoma County, told reporters.

High winds are particularly threatening, as they can enable the fire to jump containment lines and spark new blazes. 

“It’s going to be a big firefight for us over the next 36 hours,” assistant chief Billy See with Cal Fire told the press. 

The Glass Fire has destroyed 589 structures so far, and damaged another 110. So far, 2,517 fire personnel have been deployed to the area, amounting to 30 crews. AP notes that more resources have been delegated to Calistoga in Napa County. 

Regions surrounding the Bay Area are suffering from a mixture of air categorized as “unhealthy for sensitive groups” or simply “unhealthy,” according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. A Spare The Air alert is in effect for Friday and Saturday, banning the burning of wood or other fuels indoors or outdoors. 

Other wildfires still active and posing a threat include the August Complex Fire, which has overtaken about 970,563 acres further north in Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties. Having started in early August, the August Complex Fire stands at 51 percent containment.  

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) toured Napa County on Thursday, and assured residents that the state is pouring all of its available resources into fighting the fires. Newsom declared a state of emergency on Sept. 28 in response to the wildfires throughout the Golden State. 

Roughly 80,000 people are under evacuation orders, which were extended into Thursday. 

Multiple studies and scientific evidence have linked the rampant wildfires to climate change. 


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Published on Oct 02, 2020