SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The staggering scale of California’s wildfires in 2020 continues to grow.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says as of Thursday wildfires have scorched nearly 4,844 square miles (12,545 square kilometers) so far this year.
Six of the top 20 largest fires in state history have occurred this year as well.
California is now almost entirely free of Red Flag warnings for critical fire weather, but 14,000 firefighters remain on the lines of 29 major wildfires.
U.S. Marines have joined other military assets and civilian agencies in the effort to battle wildfires across Southern California.
Marine helicopters joined in water dropping operations on a wildfire in San Diego County after California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) requested military assistance, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Defense.
In Southern California, fires burned in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. People in foothill communities east of Los Angeles were warned to be ready to flee, but the region’s notorious Santa Ana winds were weaker than predicted.
The U.S. Forest Service, which had taken the unprecedented measure of closing eight national forests in Southern California earlier in the week, ordered all 18 of its forests in the state closed Wednesday.