As wildfires continue to rage of control in parts of California, assistant Wisconsin state climatologist Ed Hopkins sees a couple factors at work. "This is a disaster of epic proportions," says Hopkins. "The weather and the extended dry season has really caused a major problem." Hopkins notes that the fire region had actually been pretty wet until a couple of years ago. That moisture spurred on lush growth that the subsequent drought dried out, making perfect fuel for wind driven fires. "The strong Santa Anna winds cause the fire to really accelerate," he says. Hopkins sees two more factors at work here: homes built too close to fire prone areas, and the suppression of fires over periods of years, which contributes more fuel when blazes get out of hand as they have this week.