The largest wildfire in California history took just 11 days to burn an area nearly the size of Los Angeles.
The fire is just one of several that could make this the worst fire season in American history.
Mark Hartwig is president of the California Fire Chiefs Association. He told the Associated Press that, “For whatever reason, fires are burning much more intensely, much more quickly than they were before.”
About 14,000 firefighters are working to contain the state’s 18 fires in the middle of an unusually hot, often windy summer. The firefighters come from communities across the United States and even as far away as New Zealand.
Some of the largest fires have started within the past few weeks as California has record setting temperatures. Historically, the worst months of wildfire season are still to come.
Last month, California’s Death Valley set a world record for the hottest month ever. The average temperature in July was 42.28 degrees Celsius. That is higher than the earlier world record, set last year, also in Death Valley.
California Governor Jerry Brown spoke about climate change last week. He said, “Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse. That’s the way it is."
Wildfires in Europe
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, another major wildfire is burning in the Algarve area of Southern Portugal.
The Portuguese Civil Protection Agency said almost 1,300 firefighters were sent to the fire since it started last week. Last year, 109 people died as a result of the wildfires across Portugal.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa said that strong winds have slowed efforts to control the fire. But the hot weather that has covered much of Europe for weeks is starting to cool down. Weather experts said they expected a high temperature of 31 degrees Celsius for the Algarve on Wednesday.
I'm Anna Matteo.
The Associated Press reported this story. Hai Do adapted the AP report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
association - n. an organized group of people who have the same job, interest, etc.
emerge - v. to rise or appear