California sees increased wildfire trends, experts say it’s likely going to get worse

Wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Wildfires continue to ravage the state, with some of the largest burning right here in the Bay Area.

It seems like every year these wildfires break records. What is concerning is that it’s likely going to get worse.

The state of California is typically associated with sunshine, sandy beaches and surfers but now, it seems like wildfires are making the list.

What used to be a rare event, is now commonplace.

California has already seen a record 3,900 square miles burn, and ​the traditional peak of fire season is still ahead.

“Over 3.1 million acres have burned in California since January 1st. That beats our record. 2018, we thought we had beat it. Then it was 1.9 million acres, so we have surpassed that by well over a million acres and we still have 4 more months in the year to go,” Cal Fire assistant deputy director Daniel Berlant said.

Every year, Cal Fire collects data on wildfires, creating three top 20 lists — The largest wildfires in the state, the most destructive, and the deadliest.

Some of the most recent fires to make it on those lists are the LNU Lightning Complex fires burning in the North Bay, the CZU August Lightning Complex fires in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties and the Creek Fire in Fresno and Madera counties.

The most devastating wildfires are those that claim lives having burned more than 350,000 acres, the LNU Lightning Complex fires are now one of the top 20 deadliest fires in California history.

California’s wildfire season is being fueled by years of drought and rising temperatures.

Experts say that’s resulting in unpredictable fire behavior they have not seen before.

“On average we have seen our fire seasons last 75 days longer than they were several decades ago, so these longer periods of fire season allow for larger fires to burn, and that’s why we continue to hit the record book,” Berlant said.

Experts say climate change is fueling this new norm and the most concerning development is these fast-moving wildfires leave less time for warnings or evacuations.

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