Massive wildfire explodes to become largest in California this year

California, Sep 16 A massive fast-moving wildfire, dubbed Mosquito Fire, has burned more than 64,000 acres of land since it erupted in California on September 6, becoming the largest wildfire so far this year in the US state, authorities said.

The wildfire currently raging in California’s Placer and El Dorado counties, has scorched a total od 64,159 acres with only 20 per cent containment so far, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) said in its latest update on Thursday.

The Mosquito Fire has destroyed 70 structures, damaged 10 structures and is still threatening over 9,200 structures, according to the update.

The explosive wildfire has prompted the evacuation of more than 11,000 people and California Governor Gavin Newsom had proclaimed a state of emergency for the two counties last week.

More than 3,050 emergency personnel are continuing their efforts against the massive wildfire.

Fire officials pointed out that the vegetation in the area consists mainly of brush and timber, and the landscape in most places is very steep and rugged.

“Overnight, smoke settled back into drainages due to easing winds, with a majority of the fire area seeing good humidity recovery. Firefighters continued working throughout the night, patrolling, mopping up, and securing control lines around the south and east sides of the fire,” said Cal Fire.

“Crews and heavy equipment, including a large number of dozers, continued constructing indirect lines adjacent to steep and rugged terrain to the east of the main firefront.”

Officials noted that numerous evacuation orders and warnings are still in effect for both Placer and El Dorado counties.

The Mosquito Fire overtook the McKinney Fire, another blaze that is burning in northern California near the California-Oregon border, to be the largest wildfire of 2022 in the state.

CAL FIRE data showed that the McKinney Fire has burned 60,138 acres with 99 per cent containment to date.

Officials have identified four people killed in the McKinney Fire and confirmed at least 185 structures were destroyed by the blaze.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), a total of 50,691 wildfires have burned 6,717,555 acres in the country so far this year.

“This continues to be above the 10-year averages of 43,087 wildfires and 6,019,333 acres (24,359 square km) burned,” said NIFC in its national fire news update on Thursday, adding that more than 20,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to incidents across the western states.

California has especially experienced devastating fire activity over the past years.

Many of the largest wildfires, including the top five, in the Golden State’s history have happened in the past few years amid severe drought.

“California continues to experience longer wildfire seasons as a direct result of climate change,” said CAL FIRE in its 2022 Fire Season Outlook, noting that “continued dry conditions, with above normal temperatures through spring, will leave fuel moisture levels lower than normal, increasing the potential for wildland fire activity”.

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