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Smoke from wildfires Smoke from wildfires rise above Napa, California. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

It’s inevitable. Every year, big swaths of California will burn. The question now that spring is here is how bad it will be.

If recent history is any guide, this year’s wildfire season could be grim, despite a new push by state officials to keep flames at bay. For all of its lush redwood forests and snow-capped peaks, most of the Golden State is semi-arid, with rain falling during only half of the year. And a shifting climate has been delivering ever hotter summer weather.

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