Fire Risks Rise To ‘Critical’ In California

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), large swathes of Southern California and the Central Valley are at risk for wildfires starting next week. The NWS warns that conditions could cause rapid fire spread.

Firefighter on the scene during the Creek fire, which raged in Cascadel... [+] Woods, unincorporated Madera County, California on September 7, 2020. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP through Getty Images) AFP via Getty Images

The Key Facts

Over 5.5 million people reside in the area at "critical" wildfire danger Monday. This includes cities like Sacramento, Stockton, and much of the Central Valley. The risk level will drop to "elevated" from critical on Tuesday as concerns extend to the southern portion of the state. According to the National Weather Service, dry conditions and high winds will, in part, be caused by a trough. This will align the California Central Valley to help fuel wildfires if they form.

Important Background

California and much of the west have seen an active fire season. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports that nearly 2 million acres of California have been burned so far in 2021. This has resulted in 3,050 buildings being destroyed or damaged. After the state's record-setting wildfires last year, the rate of fires has been slowing in recent months. Wildfire destruction in 2020 broke all records with more than 4.2million acres of burned land, over 10,000 structures damaged or destroyed, and 33 deaths.


The state's wildfires have been the focus of most concern in the last few days. The fate of the giant sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Parks, which were ravaged by the wildfires that broke out last month, has been a major concern. It is believed that hundreds of giant sequoias, the largest trees in the world are lost in the fires.

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California Wildfire May have Killed Hundreds of Historic Sequoias (Forbes).