The Southern California fires are part of an incredibly long and destructive wildfire season

Business Insider | 12/7/2017 | Kevin Loria
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The devastating wildfires tearing through Southern California are happening during an especially bad fire season out west.

Earlier this year, California saw its deadliest fire disaster in history.

Fires - California - Wet - Season

These fires are worse than normal at least partially because it has been so hot and dry in California during what should be the wet season.

Wildfires are tearing across Southern California, forcing more than 200,000 people to flee from their homes in and around Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Situation - Fire - Conditions - Saturday - National

It's an out-of-control situation and only getting worse, with peak fire conditions expected to last through at least Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

These devastating blazes come in a particularly bad year for fires. Earlier this fall, Northern California experienced the deadliest fire disaster in state history. And throughout the west, it has been a disturbingly destructive and long wildfire season.

Season - Fall - Chris - Wilcox - National

"This one, in particular, has been a longer season. It really hasn't stopped since the fall of 2016," Chris Wilcox of the National Interagency Fire Center told NPR's Linda Wertheimer on Weekend Edition in September.

As the ongoing disaster in Southern California shows, things haven't let up. For those looking for an explanation of what's making the season so bad, there are a number of factors. It's the season that wildfires typically break out in Southern California. But exceptionally hot and dry conditions combined with normal factors have put parts of the state into "uncharted territory" when it comes to fire risk, according to a presentation by Alex Tardy of the National Weather Service San Diego Office.

Weather - Systems - Winds - Southern - California

Normally, high-pressure weather systems force winds to whip down through Southern California in the fall and winter. These Santa Ana winds typically peak in December or January, according to Tardy's presentation. This year, they're particularly intense, with more than 80 mph winds spreading blazes far faster than they can be...
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