Wildfire season has begun in California. Less than a year after the incredible destruction of the Camp Fire, 18 blazes are currently burning in the state, including the Walker Fire, the California’s largest so far this year.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Walker Fire sparked on Sept. 4 from unknown causes, and it is raging through Plumas National Forest in northern California, about 150 miles northeast of Sacramento. Driven by wind, the fire grew to 15,000 acres on Sept. 6, and adverse wind conditions helped the fire swell to over 44,000 acres on Sept. 9. It’s currently at 47,340 acres and has burned over 68 square miles of land, the Times reports. Over 1,000 firefighters have been battling the blaze, which is now 12 percent contained, according to a report from the U.S. Forest Service.
Although it’s large, the Walker Fire is dwarfed by the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire from November 2018. The Camp Fire, California’s most deadly and destructive wildfire ever, killed 85 people and burned 153,336 acres of land in Butte County in northern California. That’s only about 65 miles away from where the Walker Fire rages now.
That same month, the Woolsey blaze along the Malibu coast claimed three lives and scorched 96,949 acres of land. Although no one has died from wildfires in California this season, 37 structures, including some homes, have been lost.
Besides the Walker Fire, 17 other fires are also burning around California. These include two small fires in Butte County, the same area the Camp Fire tore through. The next largest fires are the Taboose Fire and Springs Fire in Inyo National Forest, the Red Bank Fire in Tehama County, and the Lone Fire in Modoc National Forest, which are all over 5,000 acres. With the exception of the Taboose, all of these fires were caused by lightning. Most of these fires are more than halfway contained after burning for days.
Compared to 2018, this fire season is off to a slow start (by this time last year, over 1.2 million acres had burned). But officials and residents are on high alert going forward. With hot, dry autumn conditions around the corner, the worst may be yet to come.