Wildfires have burned a record 2 million acres in California this year, and the danger for more destruction is so high the U.S. Forest Service on Monday said it was closing all eight national forests in the southern half of the state.
Two of the three largest fires in state history are burning in the San Francisco Bay Area.
More than 14,000 firefighters are battling those fires and dozens of others.
“The wildfire situation throughout California is dangerous and must be taken seriously. Existing fires are displaying extreme fire behavior, new fire starts are likely, weather conditions are worsening, and we simply do not have enough resources to fully fight and contain every fire.”
Lynne Tolmachoff, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said it’s “unnerving” to have reached a record for acreage burned when September and October usually are the worst for fires because vegetation has dried out and high winds are more common. The previous high was 1.96 million acres burned in 2018. Cal Fire began tracking the numbers in 1987.
A three-day heat wave brought triple-digit temperatures to much of the state during Labor Day weekend.
But right behind it was a weather system with dry winds that could fan fires.
One major blaze was ignited during a gender reveal party Saturday, and iconic landmarks are looking apocalyptic as fires approach.
Yes, California is burning like hell right now. And the fires are more visually menacing than usual, thanks to the rare pyrocumulus clouds the flames are creating: