2020 Fire Year
The 2020 California wildfire year was characterized by record-setting wildfires that burned across the state of California as measured during the modern era of wildfire management and record keeping. As of the end of the year, nearly 10,000 fires had burned over 4.2 million acres, more than 4% of the state's roughly 100 million acres of land, making 2020 the largest wildfire season recorded in California's modern history. California's August Complex fire has been described as the first "gigafire" as the area burned exceeded 1 million acres. The fire crossed seven counties and has been described as being larger than the state of Rhode Island. On August 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom reported that the state was battling 367 known fires, many sparked by intense thunderstorms on August 16–17. In early September 2020, a combination of a record-breaking heat wave, and Diablo and Santa Ana winds sparked more fires and explosively grew the active fires, with the August Complex more than doubling the Mendocino Complex's size to become California's largest recorded wildfire.
Pictured: The LNU Lightning Complex which burned across wine country in August 2020.