GRAPHIC-The age of the 'megafire'

by Reuters
Monday, 1 February 2021 15:21 GMT

Flames are seen along the east side of Lake Berryessa during the LNU Lighting Complex Fire near Berryessa Highlands, California, U.S., August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Image Caption and Rights Information

As climate change sees more "megafires" sweeping the United States, here is a look at some of the record-setting fires

By Sharon Bernstein and Manas Sharma

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb 1 (Reuters) - Wildfires shattered records across a number of U.S. states in 2020, with scientists and state officials placing much of the blame on climate change.

While nearly 57,000 wildfires sparked across California last year, much of the resulting damage was done by one of 11 "megafires" — blazes engulfing more than 100,000 acres (40,000 hectares), according to the U.S. Forest Service.

As climate change continues to warm the air, dry the land, and pull moisture from plants and the soil, scientists warn that such infernos could become more common in the future — especially after decades of fire-suppression efforts have allowed forests to become overgrown, and thus more fire-prone, in areas that are becoming more populous.

The following Reuters interactive looks at the evolution of massive, record-setting fires across various U.S. states. Open this link in an external browser:

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California, and Manas Sharma in Singapore; Editing by Simon Scarr, Katy Daigle and Lisa Shumaker)