(Sept. 10) California’s worst fire season on record is set to see more devastation as a hot, dry autumn is poised to bring more destruction, blackouts and evacuations.
Three of the four largest blazes in the state’s history have ignited this year, with wildfires torching an unprecedented 2.2 million acres and cutting power to hundreds of thousands of residents. It may get worse next month if tropical winds whip through the state, fanning the tinderbox.
Rising temperatures and an extreme mega-drought across the Western states are fueling fires from Washington to Arizona. Nationwide, 40,883 blazes have consumed 4.6 million acres this year and, for the first time, preemptive blackouts by utilities to prevent more have spread beyond California to Oregon.
Now, California is blanketed in red-flag fire warnings. The sky in San Francisco glows a dark orange as smoke particles are blasted high into the atmosphere and the city is shrouded in a dense blanket of smoke and ash.
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