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US wildfire season is here: Everything you need to know

Take steps to protect yourself, your loved ones and your property as wildfire season ramps up.

- 02:43

Wildfire season is here. 

Anton Petrus/Getty Images

Over 800,000 acres have already burned in the US this year due to wildfires. Drought is a major driver, as large regions of the West are currently dealing with the most severe level of drought, dubbed "exceptional drought" by the US Drought Monitor.

2020 was a devastating year for wildfires in the US: 10.1 million acres burned. California was particularly hard hit, losing over 4.2 million acres succumbing to wildfires, setting state records. This year's wildfire season will break records again, according to predictions from AccuWeather meteorologists. 

But drought is only part of the problem. Strong winds, high heat, low humidity and lightning also create conditions for wildfires to more easily start or spread. Others, like last year's 7,000-acre El Dorado gender-reveal party fire, started by accident. All of these factors, including how to manage wildfires once they start, are compounded by climate change.

Wildfire season doesn't have an official start date. It begins with the first wildfire of the year and ends with the last. Historically, wildfires are most likely to happen between May and October. Lately that paradigm has shifted -- wildfires raged well into late 2020, burning a record-setting 735,125 acres in December.

Predictions for this year's wildfire season are concerning, and we'll be regularly updating the section below with resources on how to protect yourself, your family and your home if you live in a fire-prone area:

There's a lot more to come to help guide your emergency planning and preparedness, so be on the lookout for new stories right here. In the meantime, keep an eye on InciWeb for current information on wildfires in the US.

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