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Gov. Gavin Newsom provides update on state’s response to wildfires, COVID-19 pandemic

(KION) UPDATE 9/16/2020 1 p.m. Gov. Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state's response to California wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic at a news conference Wednesday.

Newsom shared a chart showing average yearly temperatures recorded since 1980, and it shows that average yearly temperatures have increased by about 3 degrees, which he attributes to climate change. He also showed a chart showing the number of acres burned by wildfires from 2011 to present, and although there were exceptions, the size appears to be trending upwards.

Last year at this time, there were 5,136 fires recorded that burned about 152,000 acres, but so far this year, there have been 7,860 acres, and they have burned about 3.4 million acres.

Newsom said that the CZU Lightning Complex in particular is proof of the destruction of climate change. It burned among redwoods and in part among the Santa Cruz County coast, and at one point it burned about 44,000 acres in 24 hours.

When Newsom switched to speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic, he said 2,950 new cases were reported yesterday and the 7-day average is 3,348. There has been a 22% decrease in hospitalizations over 14 days and a decrease in ICU cases.

Marin, Inyo and Tehema counties have moved from the purple tier to the red one, and he said officials anticipate more counties moving from red to orange and from orange to yellow next week.

PREVIOUS STORY: Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to provide an update on the state's response to wildfires burning around the state and the COVID-19 pandemic at noon Wednesday.

According to Cal Fire, 17,000 firefighters are fighting 25 major and two extended attack wildfires around the state. So far this year, 7,900 wildfires have burned more than 3.3 million acres. Since Aug. 15, 4,200 structures destroyed and 25 people have died.

The California Department of Public Health reports that there were more than 760,000 confirmed cases statewide as of Sept. 14. 14,451 people have died.

California News / Coronavirus / Top Stories / Wildfires

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.


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