The 2020 California wildfire season was characterized by a record-setting year of wildfires that burned across the state of California as measured during the modern era of wildfire management and record keeping. The season is a part of the 2020 Western United States wildfire season. As of the end of the year, 9,639 fires had burned 4,177,856 acres (1,690,718 ha), more than 4% of the state's roughly 100 million acres of land, making 2020 the largest wildfire season recorded in California's modern history (according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection), though roughly equivalent to the pre-1800 levels which averaged around 4.4 million acres yearly and up to 12 million in peak years. California's August Complex fire has been described as the first "gigafire" as the area burned exceeded 1 million acres. The fire crossed seven counties and has been described as being larger than the state of Rhode Island. The intensity of the fire season has been attributed in part to decades of poor forest management as well as increased warming due to climate change.
A mouse runs as flames flare at the Apple Fire in Cherry Valley, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020.