What To Know About The West Coast Wildfires

In a devastating new record, over 3.1 million acres have burned in California this year.

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The West Coast is burning. San Fransisco awoke to a Martian orange sky. In Portland, Oregon, the Air Quality Index is labeled hazardous. In a news cycle that reads increasingly dystopian, these wildfires, spurred and aggravated in part by climate change, aren't necessarily a surprise. Their scope is nonetheless surprising. Here's what to know about the damage.

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1. More than 3.1 million acres have burned in California this year.

That’s roughly the size of Connecticut. It's the state's largest swath of land ever destroyed by fires.

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2. As of Thursday, California alone was battling 29 major fires.

In total, nearly 100 large fires are burning on the West Coast.


3. At least 15 people have died.

More than a dozen others are currently missing.

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4. Roughly 500,000 Oregon residents have orders to evacuate.

According to The Washington Post, that's more than 10% of the state population.


5. California has more than 14,000 firefighters deployed in the state.

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6. The fires have created their own weather.

The smoke and ash above the Creek Fire, near Shaver Lake, California, has created what meteorologists call a pyrocumulonimbus. It's referred to as “the fire-breathing dragon of clouds" and is likely the largest of its kind ever recorded stateside.

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7. The fires have started in different ways.

Reports indicate they've been sparked by downed power lines and lightning storms, as well as human causes, like a gender-reveal announcement.


8. The Air Quality Index in Portland, Oregon is above 300, which is considered hazardous.

San Francisco’s is around 200, which is considered unhealthy. Anything above 100 is dangerous to sensitive groups.

Looking to help? Here are seven ways to assist people affected by the wildfires.

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