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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News During the past week, at least 640,000 people in California have fled their homes, 14 people have died, more than 2,760 buildings have been destroyed, and many millions of dollars worth of damage has been inflicted. The culprit is, of course, the massive wildfire that has spread across roughly 700 square ...

598478_071029_fire_05.jpg
598478_071029_fire_05.jpg

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News

During the past week, at least 640,000 people in California have fled their homes, 14 people have died, more than 2,760 buildings have been destroyed, and many millions of dollars worth of damage has been inflicted. The culprit is, of course, the massive wildfire that has spread across roughly 700 square miles (181,300 hectares) of California, all the way from Santa Barbara down to the Mexican border. Authorities suspect that arsonists were to blame for starting at least two of the fires that have raged out of control, which have been fanned by Santa Anas—the region's strong, dry seasonal winds. And after a week, there are still serious risks of further blowouts in some areas of the state.

But it's not just California that faces threats from fierce and incredibly damaging wildfires. Every year, countries as diverse as Australia, Indonesia, and Russia experience their own deadly, forest-fire outbreaks, and are at the mercy of forces ranging from global warming to arsonists. Some of these wildfires even make California's 181,300 burning hectares look mild. In 2003, for instance, over 23 million hectares of Siberia's forests went up in flames. This week's FP List, "The World's Worst Forest Fires," looks at some of the countries that are most at risk for wildfires and previews some of the dangers that lie ahead. It's a pretty gloomy outlook, unfortunately. Check it out.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News

During the past week, at least 640,000 people in California have fled their homes, 14 people have died, more than 2,760 buildings have been destroyed, and many millions of dollars worth of damage has been inflicted. The culprit is, of course, the massive wildfire that has spread across roughly 700 square miles (181,300 hectares) of California, all the way from Santa Barbara down to the Mexican border. Authorities suspect that arsonists were to blame for starting at least two of the fires that have raged out of control, which have been fanned by Santa Anas—the region’s strong, dry seasonal winds. And after a week, there are still serious risks of further blowouts in some areas of the state.

But it’s not just California that faces threats from fierce and incredibly damaging wildfires. Every year, countries as diverse as Australia, Indonesia, and Russia experience their own deadly, forest-fire outbreaks, and are at the mercy of forces ranging from global warming to arsonists. Some of these wildfires even make California’s 181,300 burning hectares look mild. In 2003, for instance, over 23 million hectares of Siberia’s forests went up in flames. This week’s FP List, “The World’s Worst Forest Fires,” looks at some of the countries that are most at risk for wildfires and previews some of the dangers that lie ahead. It’s a pretty gloomy outlook, unfortunately. Check it out.

Prerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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