While President Trump declares without irony to be the “number one environmental president since Teddy Roosevelt,” more than 90 major wildfires have consumed everything in their path, over more than 5,300 square miles.
As reported by USA Today, strong winds in the West have fueled growing wildfires and forced mass evacuations in several areas comprising as many as 13 states.
The multiple fires have consumed an area the size of Connecticut, the media added, enveloping some areas with an orange sky of smoke and ash.
According to the National Fire Information Center, Northern and Central California were under siege as the devil’s winds fanned the roaring, historic fires that burned virtually out of control. The creek fire in the Sierra National Forest destroyed more than 350 structures and forced the evacuation of more than 30,000 people in Fresno and Madera counties.
— BLM Oregon & Washington (@BLMOregon) September 9, 2020
Fires also broke out in Southern California, and the state has already seen a record 3,600 square miles burned this year. High winds also caused fires in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
“Extreme weather conditions have made this situation significantly worse this year,” Randy Moore, regional forester for the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region covering California, said in a statement. “Record high temperatures, unprecedented dry lightning events, and multiple heatwaves across the state have made conditions extremely dry and susceptible to fire ignition. In addition to the heat and high temperatures, significant wind events have fueled blazes out of control.”
According to The Guardian, authorities fear the situation will deteriorate further in the days ahead. Four months remain in California’s wildland fire season, which scientists say has been considerably aggravated by global warming.
“Compared to last year, California has seen over 2,650 more fires and a nearly 2000% increase in the acres burned year-to-date…across all jurisdictions,” the Cal Fire authorities said on Twitter Tuesday night.
Compared to last year, California has seen over 2,650 more fires and a nearly 2000% increase in the acres burned year-to-date (January 1 – September 7), across all jurisdictions. pic.twitter.com/hv7LmbI5AD
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) September 8, 2020
Since Wednesday morning, the Bobcat fire in the Angeles National Forest, which broke out shortly after noon Sunday, has already burned more than 10,000 acres. Authorities estimate it is burning at a rate of 1,000 acres every half hour and doubled in size on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The brush area has not seen a wildfire in six decades, the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles said. Officials say the fire remains at zero percent containment, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The El Dorado fire in the San Bernardino National Forest has spread over nearly 10,600 acres and is only 16% contained.
“I quite literally have no patience for climate change deniers,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday, as 25 major fires raged across California, and a red flag warning for critical fire weather remained in place over much of the state.
“You may not believe it intellectually,” the governor continued. “But your own eyes, your own experiences, tell a different story.”