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California’s wildfire hell: how 2020 became the state’s worst ever fire season

Impossibly fast and ferocious blazes burned a staggering 4.1m acres, making for an ‘astonishing and horrifying’ year

On a deadly 24-hour march through the Sierra Nevada in September, the flames of what would become the North Complex fire raced through more than 200,000 acres of dense timber, destroyed a historic schoolhouse and overtook a beloved camp for children with cancer.

Also in its path was the remote settlement of Berry Creek, where Daniel Salazar, 27, found himself once again facing an unprecedented, out of control blaze. Less than two years earlier, Salazar had escaped the Camp fire, which killed his grandparents and 83 others in and around the town of Paradise.

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