California Has its First Ever ‘Gigafire’ | A Fire That Has Surpassed 1-Million Acres Burned

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Climate Change is leading to more intense wildfires. Photo: National Tribune

California has its first-ever ‘gigafire’, the term for a fire that has surpassed a million acres burned. The August Complex Fire, caused by lightning on 16th August, earned the undesired title earlier this week, having burned 1,029,140-acres.

The fire, which is currently 76% contained, is burning in seven counties, has destroyed 199 structures, and taken one life.

The massive fire dwarfs California’s previous biggest fire, the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018, which burned almost 460,000-acres across four counties. Scarily, at that time, the Mendocino Fire was almost double the size of the previous largest wildfire in California history.

august complex fire, California, gigafire
The current state of the August Complex Fire. Credit: InciWeb

This fire season in California has so far seen five of the top six largest fires in the state’s history and a record-breaking more than 4-million acres burned overall.

North America hasn’t seen a gigafire since 2004 when the Taylor Complex Fire burned 1.3-million acres in Alaska. Before that, the Yellowstone Fire in Montana and Idaho burned 1.58-million acres back in 1988, reports Active NorCal. A fire of more than 100,000-acres is termed a megafire.

Unfortunately, the fire season may only just be getting started in California, with the most destructive fires usually occurring in October and November.


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