These California Wildfire Statistics Show Just How Devastating The Blazes Are

ByCaroline Burke
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The current California wildfires have burned through tens of thousands of acres of land, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed over 70 people. In two weeks, the Camp Fire in northern California has destroyed more structures than the six other worst wildfires in the state's history, according to USA Today. But it doesn't stop there— there are several startling statistics about the recent California wildfires throughout the state that really put the scope of devastation into perspective.

The Camp Fire in Northern California is 70 percent contained as of Tuesday, and the Woolsey fire is at over 94 percent containment as of Monday. For now, it's clear that over 100,000 acres of land have been burned, with hundreds of people still missing. But the true extent of damage and number of fatalities will be unknown for several months as firefighters and volunteers work through the rubble.

If you want to contribute to the efforts still being made to contain the wildfires, you can check out this list of organizations to donate to on behalf of California firefighters. You can also look at the list of organizations to donate to if you're worried about the animals and pets affected by the wildfires.

If you're trying to understand how the devastation stacks up against other incidents historically, you can absorb these statistics that make the severity of the California wildfires so much more clear:

The Camp Fire Has Killed More People Than The Previous Three Worst Fires Combined

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According to USA Today, the Camp Fire has killed over 70 people so far, making it the deadliest wildfire since 1933, when the Griffith Park fire killed 29 people. The two other deadliest wildfires include the 2017 Tubbs Fire and the 1991 Tunnel Fire. It's worth noting that hundreds of people are still unaccounted for.

Over 90,000 Acres Were Ablaze By The Camp Fire's Second Day

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USA Today also reports that on the second day of the Camp Fire, the number of acres burning at once grew by 350 percent, from 20,000 acres to 90,000 acres. To put it into perspective, that's the equivalent of one football field burning per second.

Nearly 1,000 People Are Still Unaccounted For

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As of Monday evening, around 1,000 people were still unaccounted for in the wake of the fires. NPR reports that multiple search and rescue teams are working overtime with cadaver dogs to search for remains, which in many cases are charred remnants of bones from the fires.

52,000 People Had To Evacuate From Their Homes

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Approximately 52,000 people had to evacuate from their homes due to the threat of wildfires in the last few weeks, CBS reports. What's more, a total of 7,600 homes have been completely destroyed.

Over 5,000 Firefighters Were Called In To Battle The Blazes

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According to CBS, approximately 5,615 firefighters were battling the wildfires as of Nov. 14, and over 1,000 makeshift shelters were established to aid those who were affected by the fires.

California Has Lost Over 1,600,000 Acres To Wildfires In 2018

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In less than a year, the state of California has lost 1.6 million acres of land to wildfire devastation, according to The Sacramento Bee. In contrast, California lost around 1.2 million acres in 2017.

The Economic Impact Of The Fires Will Likely Be "Tens Of Billions" Of Dollars

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According to Jerry Brown, the governor of California, the economic impact of the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire will cost upwards of "tens of billions of dollars" for the state of California.

To Face The Nation on Sunday, Brown added, "The president not only has signed a presidential declaration giving California substantial funding, but he said and pledged very specifically to continue to help us, that he's got our back. And I thought that was a very positive thing."

The Smoke Has Blown All The Way To The East Coast

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On Monday evening, the sky in New York state was hazy as a result of the smoke blowing over from the west coast. NBC New York noted that because the smoke is so high up in the atmosphere, it's not likely to cause any health problems, but may affect the color quality of sunsets.

San Francisco's Air Quality Is So Bad, Spending A Day There Is Similar To Smoking Cigarettes

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According to Popular Science, the air quality in San Francisco was so bad over the weekend from the fires that if you spent a day there, breathing the air was the equivalent of smoking 10 cigarettes. Fortunately, the concentration of particulate in the air has since dropped.

California's Air Quality Is Way Outside Of World Health Standards

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Here's another startling statistic for air quality following the wildfires: last week, California's air quality exceeded world health standards by 60 times due to all of the particulate in the air. Specifically, particulates in the air exceeded 1,500 micrograms per cubic meter; the threshold for world health standards is around 25. Again, the concentration has since dropped.

The California wildfires may seem terrifying, but there's plenty that you can do to help those who are dealing with the aftermath of the damage: you can donate to firefighters, animal shelters, and housing organizations, for example. You can also learn more about how climate change is impacting the severity of wildfires across the world, too.