VIDEO: The Thomas Fire, which ranks as one of the largest wildfires in California history, was a sign of things to come. Sparked by power lines, the conflagration burned some 281,800 acres in December 2017, a month that normally lies outside of wildfire season.
“There’s a new normal,” says Michael Gollner, head of the Berkeley Fire Research Lab. He points to climate change, inadequate fire management and a trend of people moving into wildland areas as factors. The result is a new era of monster events known as megafires that burn more than 100,000 acres and tragically kill dozens.
The Camp Fire killed 85 people in November 2018 and burned about 153,000 acres.
Gollner and other researchers, including Craig Clements of the Fire Weather Research Laboratory at San Jose State University, are working to give firefighters and California communities an edge.