Six large fires are now simultaneously burning around Southern California. They’ve already torched 158,000 acres, and forecasters are expecting strong winds throughout region over the weekend, making the fires worse.
Amid the harrowing images of smoldering hillsides and homes turned to ash, one of the most remarkable facts about these fires is that they are burning large swaths in separate places at the same time, as you can see in this map.
The largest of these are the Thomas Fire, the Creek Fire, the Rye Fire, the Lilac Fire, the Liberty Fire, and the Skirball Fire.
That these blazes, which are mostly still uncontained, are all happening now is due in part to low rainfall and high temperatures this year, which left dry fuel all around Southern California. Strong late-season Santa Ana winds are now rapidly driving the flames forward, putting one of the most populated regions of the country at risk this week. The city of Los Angeles is home to 4 million people, and more than 10 million people live in Los Angeles County.
More than 200,000 people have already fled the fires. And more than 2,500 firefighters are working to keep the blazes in check, but the return of strong winds on Saturday stands to continue to make that difficult.
Correction: An earlier version of the map featured two old fires, the Whittier Fire and Canyon Fire, that have been contained.