In the U.S. state of California, this gives you an idea of why the governor just declared a state of emergency.
It applies to five counties in the central and southern areas of the state. That's where three wildfires are burning. They've chewed through tens of thousands of acres. They've forced thousands of people to evacuate and they have destroyed some homes. Statewide, California has lost more land to wildfires this year than at any other yearon record.
More than two million acres have burned in 2020. And though the state has a wildfire season which typically lasts from the spring through the fall, it often hits its worst point in October and November, so fire officials are particularly concerned about that. Over the weekend California broke temperature records that have stood since the 1950s.
Though it's been cooler than average in the central part of the United States, areas of the west have seen sweltering heat waves and that can make wildfires worse. In the state's hot dry conditions, lightning strikes have been blamed for causing many of the wildfires, but a party where a type of firework wasset offis responsible forone of the recent ones. In addition to the round the clock efforts of the firefighters, the state of emergency declaration willspeed uphelp and money to the residents who've been affected.