Scientists in the News

California’s 2020 Wildfire Emissions Akin to 24 Million Cars

Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay


California’s 2020 wildfire season thwarted the state’s fight against climate change. Roughly 9,600 fires burned nearly 4.2 million acres, killed 31 people, and emitted an estimated 112 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to a California Air Resources Board report released Dec. 31. Put another way, wildfires statewide equaled the greenhouse gas emissions from a year’s worth of driving by 24.2 million passenger cars, according to federal calculations.