A law enforcement officer watches flames launch into the air as fire continues to spread at the Bear fire in Oroville, California on September 9, 2020.
© Josh Edelson/AFP
A law enforcement officer watches flames launch into the air as fire continues to spread at the Bear fire in Oroville, California on September 9, 2020.
As 2020 winds to a close, firefighters are still struggling to contain three active California wildfires.

These three wildfires are part of the more than 57,000 that occurred this year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, which tracks wildland fires.


As of December 23, these tens of thousands of wildfires have scorched more than 10.3 million acres, a record-high in at least a decade. Burned acres in the United States has not reached double-digit million figures in the last 10 years, according to the agency.

Last year, about 4.5 million acres were burned down because of about 49,000 wildfires.

The 10-year average, according to the NIFC, is 6.7 million acres burned and about 61,000 total wildfires.

California made up about half the acre burnage. About 4.1 million acres have been burned this year in California, as of December 18, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Over 10,000 structures were damaged, and 31 people died.

California is still burning

Today, there are still three fires raging in the state. Two began months ago, and the third began just two days before Christmas.

A creek fire in Contra Costa county is proving especially difficult for firefighters to contain. Since it broke out on May 30, firefighters have only managed to contain about 50% so far, according to data from CalFire.

The one that broke out right before Christmas is 65% contained so far but has already scorched up more than 4,200 acres. And a fire in San Luis Obispo county that began in August is almost 100% contained, CalFire reported.

Six of California's fires this year landed on Cal Fire's list of the 20 largest fires in the state of all time.

More than 2 million properties are either at high or extreme risk to wildfires, according to risk analysis from Verisk Analytics.

According to Verisk's 2019 Wildfire Risk Analysis 4.5 million U.S. homes were identified at high or extreme risk of wildfire, with more than 2 million in California alone.

Major fires also impacted other states this year:

Oregon: About 1 million acres of land burned in 2020, according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

Colorado: About 700,000 acres burned in 2020.

Wyoming: At least 170,000 acres burned as of October 8.

Idaho: As of September 13, about 55,000 acres burned.

Utah: At least 89,000 acres burned.