California’s Many Wildfires Connected by Common Thread of Extreme Heat

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A firefighter walks through smoke during the Mendocino Complex fire in Lakeport, California, on July 30, 2018. (Credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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The northern Sacramento Valley was well on its way to recording the hottest July on record when the Carr fire swept into town Thursday.

It was 113 degrees, and months of above-average temperatures had left the land bone-dry and ready to explode. Within a few hours, hundreds of structures were lost and six people killed.

The destruction adds to California’s worst wildfire year on record — dozens dead since October, with more than 10,000 structures lost from San Diego to Redding.

There are many reasons for the grim totals, but experts say one common denominator connects the disastrous fires: California is facing extreme heat, the likes of which it has never seen in the modern historical record.

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(Credit: Priya Krishnakumar/L.A. Times graphics)
(Credit: Priya Krishnakumar/L.A. Times graphics)

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