USA – Recent Southern California wildfires have devastated the Angeles National Forest, charring more than 150,000 acres — about 235 square miles — during a record-setting fire season across the state.
The amount burned represents 23% of the forest’s land, which encompasses roughly 655,000 acres, or 1,023 square miles, the U.S. Forest Service said Monday.
The damage has been caused by several major wildfires that erupted in the region over the past few months, among them the Bobcat, Lake, Martindale and Ranch 2 fires.
Of those, the Bobcat Fire was the largest, charring 115,000 acres after erupting in the hills above Azusa on Sept. 6. The massive inferno still hadn’t been fully contained as of Saturday — the last time officials updated the blaze’s figures — but crews are getting close.
The Angeles National Forest was among the first of state’s national forests to be temporarily shut down on Sept. 7 before officials made the unprecedented decision to close all 18 due to “explosive growth of fires throughout California.”
While most of those closures have since been lifted, parts of the Angeles National Forest remain shut down to the public some six weeks later.
California’s current wildfire year has shattered numerous records in the state, with more than 8,600 blazes scorching 4.1 million acres across the Golden State thus far, according to Cal Fire.
More wildfire devastation could be in store for California before 2020 is over, as some of the state’s most devastating infernos — like the Thomas Fire in 2017 and the Camp Fire in 2018 — erupted in the final two months of the year.