SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP
) — The number of wildfires
and the amount of land burned in parched California
so far this year far outnumber totals for the same period in 2020, the disastrous wildfire year.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, there were 4,599 fires between January 1 and July 4
, scorching 114.8 square miles (297 square kilometers).
Last year, 3,847 fires scorched 48.6 square miles (126 square kilometers) during the same time period.
By the end of 2020, a total of 9,917 wildfires had charred a record 6,653 square miles (17,231 square kilometers), damaging or destroying 10,488 structures, and killing 33 people
Cal Fire said this week that hot and dry conditions have contributed to this year's increased wildfire activity, which has damaged or destroyed 91 structures.
has gripped the entire state, with much of it classified as extreme or exceptional, and the landscape is covered in extremely dry vegetation after a dry winter and early heat waves
Two of the three large wildfires that have been burning in the state's far north for more than a week were more than 70% contained on Wednesday, while the stubborn Salt Fire north of Redding was 25% contained, and a large fire in northern Los Angeles County
was 88% contained.
A helicopter fighting the Lava Fire near Mount Shasta went down in a nearby lake on Wednesday afternoon, but the pilot was able to swim and walk away, according to the US Forest Service. There were no passengers aboard.