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The 2018 California wildfires are a series of wildfires that have burned across the state of California during 2018. A total of 5,403 fires had burned an area of 975,738.7 acres (3,948.674 km2), according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Interagency Fire Center, as of August 17.[1][2][3] The active Mendocino Complex Fire has burned more than 379,000 acres (1,530 km2), becoming the largest complex fire in the state's history, with the complex's Ranch Fire surpassing the Thomas Fire to become California's single-largest modern wildfire.[13][14]

2018 California wildfires
West Coast MODIS via EOSDIS 20180801.png
1
2
3
4
5
1
Garner Complex
2
Natchez Fire
3
Carr Fire
4
Mendocino Complex
5
Ferguson Fire
Satellite image of the wildfires burning in Northern California and in southern Oregon, on August 1, 2018; smoke is can be seen trailing northeastward over Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho
Statistics[1][2][3]
Total fires 5,403
Total area 975,738.7 acres (3,948.674 km2)
Cost >$758.144 million (2018 USD)[4]
Fatalities 8 civilians, 6 firefighters[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]
Non-fatal injuries At least 14
Season
← 2017
2019 →

On August 4, 2018, a national disaster was declared in Northern California, due to the massive wildfires burning there.[15]

Contents

Increased fire susceptibilityEdit

Many different factors led to the 2018 California wildfire season becoming so devastating. A combination of an increased amount of natural fuel and compounding atmospheric conditions from global warming led to a series of destructive fires.

Increase in fuelEdit

A direct contributor to the 2018 California wildfires was an increase in dead tree fuel.[16] By December 2017, there were a record 129 million dead trees in California.[17]

Atmospheric conditionsEdit

Stanford Earth System Science Professor Noah Diffenbaugh stated that atmospheric conditions for California wildfires are expected to worsen in the future because of the effects of climate change in California and that "what we're seeing over the last few years in terms of the wildfire season in California [is] very consistent with the historical trends in terms of increasing temperatures, increasing dryness, and increasing wildfire risk". Other experts agreed, saying that global warming is to blame for these extreme weather conditions. Global warming resulted in higher temperatures and less rain, creating a drier landscape that gave fires more fuel to burn longer and stronger.[18]

Home construction in the wildland-urban interfaceEdit

A wildland–urban interface (or WUI) refers to the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development. Communities that are within 0.5 miles (0.80 km) of the zone may also be included. These lands and communities adjacent to and surrounded by wildlands are at risk of wildfires.[19] Since the 1990s, over 43% of new homes have been constructed in this area. In some areas, the amount of new homes in those areas is 80%.[20] In the past, when these areas burned, no homes were lost, but now homes are there and are being destroyed.[21]

Air qualityEdit

 
Air quality of California August 7, 2018

Northern California and the Central Valley saw drastic increases in air pollutants during the height of the July and August fires, while Southern California also experienced an increase in air pollution in August.[22]

WildfiresEdit

The following is a list of fires that burned more than 1,000 acres, or produced significant structural damage or loss of life.

 
California National Guard battles wildfires.
 
Hume Lake showing extensive mountain pine beetle damage as of April 2016. Hume Lake, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
Name County Acres Start date Containment date Status Notes Ref
Pleasant Inyo 2,070 February 18, 2018 April 3, 2018 Contained [23]
Moffat Inyo 1,265 April 19, 2018 May 21, 2018 Contained [24]
Nees Merced 1,756 May 2, 2018 May 17, 2018 Contained [25]
Patterson Riverside 1,261 May 17, 2018 May 21, 2018 Contained [26]
Panoche San Benito 64 June 4, 2018 June 7, 2018 Contained 3 civilians killed [27][5]
Stone Los Angeles 1,352 June 4, 2018 June 13, 2018 Contained [28]
Airline San Benito 1,314 June 4, 2018 June 14, 2018 Contained [29]
Apple Tehama 2,956 June 9, 2018 June 14, 2018 Contained 3 residential structures and 2 outbuilding destroyed [30]
Chrome Glenn 2,290 June 9, 2018 June 21, 2018 Contained 1 outbuilding destroyed [31]
Lions Madera 10,765 June 11, 2018 70% contained [32][33]
Planada Merced 4,564 June 15, 2018 June 21, 2018 Contained [34]
Yankee San Luis Obispo 1,500 June 20, 2018 July 1, 2018 Contained [35]
Lane Tehama 3,716 June 23, 2018 July 4, 2018 Contained 1 injury [36]
Pawnee Lake 15,185 June 23, 2018 July 8, 2018 Contained 22 structures destroyed, 1 injury [37]
Creek Madera 1,678 June 24, 2018 July 5, 2018 Contained 4 residential structures and 7 minor structures destroyed [38]
Waverly San Joaquin 12,300 June 29, 2018 July 2, 2018 Contained [39]
County Lake, Napa, Yolo 90,288 June 30, 2018 July 14, 2018 Contained 20 structures destroyed; 1 firefighter injured [40]
Klamathon Siskiyou 38,008 July 5, 2018 July 16, 2018 Contained 82 structures destroyed; 3 injuries, 1 civilian killed [41][42]
Valley San Bernardino 1,350 July 6, 2018 July 24, 2018 Contained [43][4]
Holiday Santa Barbara 113 July 6, 2018 July 11, 2018 Contained 20 structures destroyed [44]
Pendleton Complex San Diego 1,800 July 6, 2018 July 11, 2018 Contained Originated as 3 separate fires; burned in Camp Pendleton [45][46]
West San Diego 504 July 6, 2018 July 11, 2018 Contained 56 structures destroyed [47]
Georges Inyo 2,883 July 8, 2018 July 16, 2018 Contained [48][4]
Ferguson Mariposa 96,824 July 13, 2018 87% contained 11 injured, 2 firefighters killed; 10 structures destroyed [6][49]
Eagle Modoc 2,100 July 13, 2018 July 17, 2018 Contained [50][4]
Natchez Del Norte, Siskiyou 18,618 July 15, 2018 57% contained [51]
Carr Shasta 223,610 July 23, 2018 77% contained 1,077 residences, 22 commercial structures, 503 outbuildings destroyed - 190 residences, 26 commercial structures and 63 outbuildings damaged; 3 firefighters and 5 civilians killed [52]
Cranston Riverside 13,139 July 26, 2018 August 10, 2018 Contained [53]
Mendocino Complex Mendocino, Lake, Colusa 379,720 July 27, 2018 76% contained The Ranch and River Fires are collectively called the Mendocino Complex Fire. 157 residential buildings destroyed, 120 others destroyed - 13 residential buildings and 24 other buildings damaged; 1 firefighter killed, 2 firefighters injured [54][14][55]

[56]

Whaleback Lassen 18,703 July 27, 2018 August 7, 2018 Contained [57]
Butte Sutter 1,200 July 31, 2018 August 3, 2018 Contained [58]
Donnell Tuolumne 31,369 August 1, 2018 42% contained [59]
Tarina Kern 2,950 August 3, 2018 August 6, 2018 Contained [60]
Pendleton San Diego 1,000 August 5, 2018 August 6, 2018 Contained Burned in Camp Pendleton [61]
Turkey Monterey 2,225 August 6, 2018 August 6, 2018 Contained [62]
Holy Orange, Riverside 22,986 August 6, 2018 85% contained [63]
Five Kings 2,995 August 6, 2018 August 8, 2018 Contained [64]
Hat Shasta 1,900 August 9, 2018 August 16, 2018 Contained [65]
Nelson Solano 2,162 August 10, 2018 August 12, 2018 Contained [66]
Hirz Shasta 11,510 August 13, 2018 11% contained [67]
Stone Modoc 5,445 August 15, 2018 0% contained [68]

FatalitiesEdit

On June 4, the Panoche Fire broke out, in a series of three blazes that started in the San Benito County area. While the Panoche incident was the smallest of the three fires, burning only 64 acres (26 ha), the remains of three people were found in a destroyed camping trailer in the burn area.[5][69] The remains were believed to belong to a mother, a toddler, and an infant.[5][70]

On July 14, a Cal Fire bulldozer operator was killed while fighting the Ferguson Fire becoming the first firefighter death of the season.[6]

On July 23, the Carr Fire broke out after a vehicle malfunctioned. While the Carr Fire burned in rural areas of Shasta County for the first few days, it crossed the Sacramento River and entered the city limits of Redding, California on the evening of July 26. By the next morning, 2 firefighters and 4 civilians would be dead.[7][8][71] By the afternoon of July 29, there were 7 people still unaccounted for.[72]

On July 29, a firefighter with the National Park Service was killed after a dead tree fell and struck him, while he was fighting the Ferguson Fire. He was "treated on scene, but died before he could be taken to the hospital".[9]

On August 4, a PG&E employee was killed in a vehicle incident while working to restore services to areas impacted by the Carr Fire.[10]

On August 9, a CAL Fire heavy equipment mechanic was killed in a traffic incident while working at the Carr Fire.[11]

On August 13, a firefighter was killed while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire.[12]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "2018 Fire Statistics". CAL FIRE. August 12, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b "2018 National Year-to-Date Report on Fires and Acres Burned" (PDF). NIFC. August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "Southern Area Coordination Center". Southern Area Coordination Center. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d "NationalLargeIncidentReport" (PDF). CAL FIRE. July 11, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Woman, toddler, infant found dead at Central California wildfire scene". Los Angeles Times. June 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c "Services set in Modesto for Cal Fire bulldozer operator killed fighting Ferguson fire". modbee. Retrieved 2018-07-22. 
  7. ^ a b "Two Missing Kids, Great-Grandmother in Redding Found Dead: Family". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved 2018-07-28. 
  8. ^ a b "Carr Fire kills two firefighters near Redding, destroys 500 structures". SF Gate. Retrieved 2018-07-28. 
  9. ^ a b "Second firefighter killed fighting Ferguson Fire, officials confirm". Fresno Bee. Retrieved 29 July 2018. 
  10. ^ a b "PG&E employee becomes seventh Carr Fire fatality". Redding Record Searchlight. Retrieved 5 August 2018. 
  11. ^ a b Browning, Kellen (9 August 2018). "Eighth person dies in relation to Carr Fire". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 9 August 2018. 
  12. ^ a b "Mendocino Complex Press Conferenece" (PDF). Retrieved 14 August 2018. 
  13. ^ "California wildfire declared 'largest in state's history'". BBC News. 7 August 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2018. 
  14. ^ a b "Ranch Fire". CAL FIRE. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  15. ^ California, State of. "Governor Brown Announces Federal Approval of Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Shasta County – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr". www.gov.ca.gov. Retrieved 5 August 2018. 
  16. ^ "Ferguson Fire: Tree mortality epidemic adding to fire crews' headaches". San Francisco Chronicle. July 26, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2018. 
  17. ^ "Record 129 Million Dead Trees in California" (PDF). United States Forest Service. July 1, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2018. 
  18. ^ "California wildfires will get worse in the future because of climate change, experts say". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-08-01. 
  19. ^ "Rapid growth of the US wildland-urban interface raises wildfire risk". Retrieved August 7, 2018. 
  20. ^ "Wildfire, Wildlands, and People: Understanding and Preparing for Wildfire in the Wildland-Urban Interface" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-08-07. 
  21. ^ https://earther.gizmodo.com/we-re-building-millions-of-homes-in-the-line-of-wildfir-1823736981
  22. ^ "California Air Quality". Air Now. August 7, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2018. 
  23. ^ "Pleasant Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved February 18, 2018. 
  24. ^ "Moffat Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved April 20, 2018. 
  25. ^ "Nees Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved May 2, 2018. 
  26. ^ "Patterson Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  27. ^ "Panoche Fire". CAL FIRE. June 7, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018. 
  28. ^ "Apple Fire". InciWeb. June 13, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  29. ^ "Airline Fire". CAL FIRE. June 14, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  30. ^ "Apple Fire". CAL FIRE. June 14, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  31. ^ "Chrome Fire". CAL FIRE. June 21, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  32. ^ "Lions Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  33. ^ "Lions Fire". CAL FIRE. June 26, 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  34. ^ "Planada Fire". CAL FIRE. June 21, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  35. ^ "Yankee Fire". CAL FIRE. July 1, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  36. ^ "Lane Fire". CAL FIRE. June 27, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  37. ^ "Pawnee Fire". CAL FIRE. July 8, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018. 
  38. ^ "Creek Fire". CAL FIRE. July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  39. ^ "Waverly Fire". CAL FIRE. July 2, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018. 
  40. ^ "County Fire". CAL FIRE. July 14, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2018. 
  41. ^ "Klamathon Fire". CAL FIRE. July 14, 2018. Retrieved July 14, 2018. 
  42. ^ Kellen Browning; Daniel Brown (July 6, 2018). "At least one dead as Klamathon Fire tops 9,600 acres, remains state of emergency". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  43. ^ "Valley Fire". CAL FIRE. July 13, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018. 
  44. ^ "Holiday Fire". CAL FIRE. July 13, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018. 
  45. ^ Alexander Nguyen (July 7, 2018). "2 Fires Burning at Camp Pendleton; 750 Homes Evacuated". NBC Southern California. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  46. ^ Brytani Wheeler (July 11, 2018). "3rd MAW supports firefighting operations at Camp Pendleton". Marines. Retrieved July 13, 2018. 
  47. ^ "West Fire". CAL FIRE. July 11, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018. 
  48. ^ "Georges Fire". CAL FIRE. July 13, 2018. Retrieved July 14, 2018. 
  49. ^ "Ferguson Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  50. ^ "Eagle Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. July 15, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018. 
  51. ^ "Natchez Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  52. ^ "Carr Fire". CAL FIRE. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  53. ^ "Cranston Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2018. 
  54. ^ "River Fire". CAL FIRE. July 28, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018. 
  55. ^ Curtis Driscoll (July 28, 2018). "Cal Fire renames River and Ranch fires the Mendocino Complex Fire". Ukiah Daily Journal. Retrieved July 28, 2018. 
  56. ^ "Mendocino Complex Information - InciWeb the Incident Information System". August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  57. ^ "Whaleback Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. July 28, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018. 
  58. ^ "Butte Fire". CAL FIRE. August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018. 
  59. ^ "Donnell Fire: Incident information". InciWeb. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  60. ^ "Tarina Fire". CAL FIRE. August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018. 
  61. ^ "1,000-acre brush fire at Camp Pendleton fully contained". Retrieved 6 August 2018. 
  62. ^ "Turkey Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Retrieved August 7, 2018. 
  63. ^ "Holy Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  64. ^ California, State of (August 8, 2018). "Five Fire General Information". cdfdata.fire.ca.gov. Retrieved August 13, 2018. 
  65. ^ "Hat Fire". CAL FIRE. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  66. ^ "Nelson Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Retrieved August 12, 2018. 
  67. ^ "Hirz Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  68. ^ "Stone Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  69. ^ Gomez, Mark (June 5, 2018). "Three discovered dead in San Benito County wildfire". Mercury News. Retrieved June 5, 2018. 
  70. ^ Larson, Amy (June 5, 2018). "Mother, baby, toddler killed in San Benito County wildfire". KSBW. Retrieved June 5, 2018. 
  71. ^ "Carr Fire death toll climbs to six as crews 'gain some ground' against massive blaze". WashingtonPost. Retrieved 2018-07-29. 
  72. ^ "7 missing as deadly California wildfire continues to grow". CNN. Retrieved 2018-07-29. 

External linksEdit