1M+ Acres Burn in 2017 in California

An unusually bad year for California wildfires has seen more than 1 million acres burn so far in 2017. 

The latest data released Tuesday by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection covers land under both state and federal protection. The total area burned in the state this year is bigger than the state of Rhode Island. 

The figures released this week don't include the wind-driven wildfires currently raging in Southern California. 

State Fire Chief Ken Pimlott has told lawmakers that climate change is spawning more and bigger wildfires. Blazes on land under Cal Fire's protection this year have burned more than twice the recent five-year average.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Ventura County, location of the largest of wildfires currently burning in the state.

The fire 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles ignited Monday evening near the city of Santa Paula.

Winds have pushed it west into the city of Ventura, where homes continued to burn Tuesday afternoon.

The governor says the fire is very dangerous and residents must be ready to evacuate if told to do so.

His emergency declaration sets in motion state firefighting assistance to local governments and suspends rules that might hinder recovery efforts after the fires are put out.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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