California wildfires burn twice the acreage of last year's total. And Santa Ana winds, which fan California wildfires, haven't arrived yet.
Jae C. Hong/AP
California truly is the Golden State this summer — golden brown — and that has fire officials worried heading into the peak of the wildfire season.
It's still weeks before the fire-fanning Santa Ana winds usually arrive and already it's been a brutal fire season, with nearly twice as many acres (hectares) burned statewide from a year ago, including 19,000 acres (7,690 hectares) scorched this week in a blaze still raging in the mountains 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
So far this year, California fire officials have battled 4,300 wildfires, a stark increase from the yearly average of nearly 3,000 they faced from 2008 to 2012, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
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