Wildfires have scorched a record 3.1 million acres (12,525 square km) of land in the U.S. state of California since August, authorities said Thursday.
The previous record of 1.9 million acres (7,689 square km) was set in 2018.
There have been 12 fatalities and over 3,900 structures destroyed so far this year, said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in a daily update, adding that approximately 14,000 firefighters remain on the line of 29 major wildfires burning across the state.
The August Complex Fire, a combination of 37 fires sparked by lightning on Aug. 17 in Mendocino National Forest in Northern California, is now the largest blaze in the state’s history.
Officials noted that although multiple new fires were sparked Wednesday, firefighters contained most of them quickly with two growing to large wildfires.
The department stated that while wildfires are natural part of California’s landscape, the fire season in the state and across the west is starting earlier and ending later each year.
Officials noted that climate change is considered a key driver of the trend.