U.S. Wildfires Have Destroyed an Area the Size of Israel

Wildfires across the U.S. have burned around 5.2 million acres of land as of Thursday, according to the latest figures from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and local authorities.

The current total acreage of the fires is nearly the size of Israel, which has an area of just over 5.3 million acres.

More than 26,000 firefighters and other support staff are battling at least 102 "active large fires" across 12 states as of Thursday, according to the NIFC.

More than half of the fires—at least 56—are reported to be in California, Oregon and Washington.

"Unprecedented weather conditions have created emergency situations near wildfires throughout California, Oregon, Washington, and other states. Almost half of the large fires reported today [Thursday] have evacuation orders in place," the NIFC noted in its latest report.

There have been at least 23 fatalities amid the ongoing fires, including 12 deaths in California alone, while hundreds of thousands have been evacuated and thousands of homes have been destroyed.

California's fire season has broke records this year, with over 3.1 million acres burned, according to the latest report Thursday by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

In Oregon, fires have burned at least 924,199 acres of land, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) noted in a post Thursday on its official Twitter account.

At least 587,000 acres were reported to have burned across Washington, as of Wednesday, according to Washington's Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

The NIFC warned: "A cold front will stall off the West Coast while pushing into northern Mexico and stretching northeast through the southern Plains into the Ohio Valley. Precipitation will over spread the Southern Rockies and southern and central Plains with snow over the higher elevations.

"Gusty offshore winds amid a dry air mass will continue across the West Coast with critical fire weather conditions expected. Dry and breezy post-frontal conditions will continue across portions of the Great Basin and into the Desert Southwest as well. Thunderstorms are likely along the Gulf Coast and through portions of the Southeast into the Mid-Atlantic, especially near the coast," according to the NIFC report.

Acreage of all current major fires in U.S.

(Source: NIFC, unless otherwise stated)

  1. California: over 3.1 million acres (according to Cal Fire)
  2. Oregon: at least 924,199 acres (according to OEM)
  3. Washington: at least 587,000 acres (according to Washington's Commissioner of Public Lands)
  4. Colorado: at least 288,044 acres
  5. Montana: at least 111,222 acres
  6. Utah: at least 51,608 acres
  7. Idaho: at least 48,179 acres
  8. Arizona: at least 38,150 acres
  9. Nevada: at least 22,474 acres
  10. Alaska: at least 21,593 acres
  11. Wyoming: at least 6,870 acres
  12. New Mexico: at least 4,010 acres
Elementary school Santiam Fire Oregon September 2020
The charred remains of the Gates Elementary School in Oregon after the passage of the Santiam Fire on September 10. Wildfires in the U.S. have burned over 5.2 million acres of land, including over 924,000 acres in Oregon. Kathryn Elsesser/AFP via Getty Images