August 10, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) California is preparing for a third straight year of severe wildfires as the state’s once-per-week heatwave continues to wreak havoc.

As of Wednesday, the state was dealing with 5.4 million acres of burned or severely damaged forest, with another 1.6 million acres in the most severe category, the National Interagency Fire Center said.

That’s more than the 5.2 million acres burned during the same period last year.

The latest forecast shows the drought-stricken state may be hit even harder this year, with at least a quarter of the state being severely burned.

That is the fourth consecutive year that California has been hit by a heatwave that has killed more than 3,000 people and scorched more than 2 million acres.

California is in the midst of a historic drought that is the worst in more than two decades.

It’s the latest in a string of years when California has experienced its worst drought since the Great Depression, a state that was devastated by the devastating Dust Bowl and the Great Fire of 1871.

The fires are not the only thing California is dealing with.

The state’s economy has been ravaged by a devastating wildfires that wiped out more than $1 trillion worth of property and damaged more than 8,000 schools.