A recent image captured by NASA's Aqua satellite provides a stark reminder of how Northern California continues to grapple with a series of wildfires, many of them sparked by lightning, while the southern part of the state enjoys relative calm.
As the entire state continues to suffer under unrelenting, severe drought conditions, major wildfires have largely been absent from Southern California since a series of blazes tore through San Diego County in May -- one of which was allegedly the result of arson.
Northern California, on the other hand, has been taking the brunt of the wildfire season -- a fact that was put into perspective via the large, drifting plume of smoke visible from space. But the tax to the state's firefighting resources has come mainly in the sheer volume of fires, not total acreage burned.
So far this year, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to 4,294 wildfires, more than the year-to-date average of 3,311, according to a weekly drought brief.
Despite the uptick, combined with a crippling drought across the West, none of the fires have detonated into catastrophe like the Rim fire did in 2013, scorching more than 250,000 acres.
By contrast, the Happy and July complex fires, among the largest, have scorched more than 58,000 acres combined in Northern California.
Meanwhile, the only active wildfire of any significance -- the Tecolote fire in Angeles National Forest -- is 90% contained at 294 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
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