California ‘Firestorm’ Scorched Area Twice the Size of Manhattan in 24 Hours
It’s officially one of the most destructive fires in California history. The Valley Fire, which ignited in Northern California on Saturday afternoon, scorched 50,000 acres—an area more than twice the size of Manhattan—within 24 hours, according to Napa Valley Patch. It has since grown to 67,000 acres and is only 15 percent contained.
— Joe Fryer (@joefryer) September 15, 2015
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) September 14, 2015
“It’s a true firestorm—extremely fast moving, generating its own weather conditions, and burning literally everything in its path,” Daniel Swain, a climate Earth system scientist at Stanford University, told Climate Central. “The Valley Fire is breaking all the rules in the midst of a fire season that had already rewritten the rulebook. What’s going on in Lake County is a direct manifestation of California’s record-breaking drought, and it’s pretty sobering.”
Stoked by high temperatures and strong winds, the devastating fire comes amid the state’s epic four-year drought made worse by climate change. Just yesterday, researchers published a study in Nature that found that last winter’s snowpack was the lowest in the last 500 years.