What Exactly Is a Gigafire?

With the California wildfires scorching over 4 million acres this year, it stands to reason that some new verbiage would be needed to express the magnitude of the threat. That’s why you’ll be hearing the term gigafire. The blaze known as the August Complex ravaging California is now being classified as a gigafire — a fire that destroys one million acres of land. It surpasses the term megafire, which is a fire that consumes over 100,000 acres. The word "complex" is often used to describe a group of smaller fires that may or may not begin to burn together. The August Complex began as 300 individual fires that eventually joined together. The record-setting wildfire destruction this year is thought to be exacerbated by climate change, with hotter and drier conditions providing an ideal setting for fires to take hold and spread. As of Monday, firefighters had contained roughly 65% of the California blaze.