California fires reach historic proportions in U.S.
The staggering magnitude of the California wildfires reached another historic high on Monday when a single fire exceeded one million scorched acres (404,000 hectares).
The magnitude of the fire known as Complejo Agosto in the Pacific coastal chain, a series of mountain ranges that lies between San Francisco and the border with Oregon, came a day after the total area consumed by the flames this year in California surpassed the four million acres (1.6 million hectares), more than double the previous record.
The Agosto Complex started as dozens of fires were caused by lightning in the Mendocino National Forest in mid-August. In September, it became the largest known fire in California. As of Monday, it had covered about 4,055 square kilometers (1,566 square miles).
Since the beginning of the year, more than 8,200 wildfires have destroyed much more than four million acres, or 6,250 square miles in the state of California, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Sunday through a release. 31 deaths have been registered and more than 8,400 buildings have been destroyed.
Several studies have linked the great wildfires in the United States to climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Scientists said climate change has made California drier, making trees and other plants more flammable.
Mike Flannigan, who heads the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science at the University of Alberta in Canada, noted that the increase in the size of wildfires in California and the western United States is due in large part, but not only, to climate change caused by humans.