Much of the world is both literally and figuratively aflame, but things are thus far looking up for California, which suffered devastating wildfire destruction in the last few years. This year, though, wildfire acreage is down significantly, and experts are hopeful this summer’s colder and wetter conditions will limit destruction when wildfire season is in full swing in the fall.
According to NBC Los Angeles, wildfire acreage has decreased 95 percent from last year, with the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection battling fires on only 38 square miles as compared with the 970 square miles they battled this time last summer. The acreage has also decreased 90 percent from the same timeframe over the last five years.
This is not to say California is fire-free—fire officials say statewide fires have only dropped about 15 percent—but the fires are much smaller and easier to contain, which is a hopeful sign. Per NBC:
Scott McLean, a spokesman for CalFire, said the state hasn’t dried out as quickly this year and the temperatures haven’t been as consistently hot. Hot spells have been followed by cooler weather and winds haven’t been strong.
“It’s a roller coaster with temperatures this year,” McLean said. “There have been very little winds so far. We’re crossing all fingers and appendages.”
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance this respite won’t last, considering California’s wildfire season is at its most vicious in the fall, when dry and hot summers have had time to suck all the moisture out of the state.
Last year, both Northern California’s devastating Camp Fire and Southern California’s Woolsey fire raged in November, and though last summer dried out a much bigger portion of the state than this one has so far, you shouldn’t put out a cigarette in the woods anytime soon. In fact, Vice predicts this upcoming wildfire season could be the worst one yet, so really there’s no good news here at all.