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List of California wildfires

  (Redirected from Wildfires in California)
Santa Ana winds in California expands fires and spreads smoke over hundreds of miles, as in this October 2017 satellite image
The Rim Fire consumed more than 250,000 acres (100,000 ha) of forest near Yosemite National Park, in 2013

California has dry, windy, and often hot weather conditions from late spring through autumn that can produce moderate to devastating wildfires. At times, these wildfires are fanned or made worse from strong, dry winds, known as Diablo winds in the northern part of the state and Santa Ana winds to the south. Wildfires in California are growing more dangerous as people build in rural burn areas. United States taxpayers pay about US$3 billion a year to fight wildfires, and big fires can lead to billions of dollars in property losses.[1]

The following is a list of notable wildfires of various sizes that have occurred in California.

Contents

Largest firesEdit

Since 1932, when accurate records started to be kept, these are the 20 largest wildfires in California, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).[2] However, the largest wildfire in recorded California history was the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889, which burned at least 300,000 acres (120,000 ha) in southern California.[3]

Note:   means that the fire is currently burning. Total size and position in the list are subject to change.

Name County Acres Hectares Start date Structures Deaths Notes
Thomas Ventura, Santa Barbara 281,893 114,078.0 December 2017 1,063 2 As of December 22, confirmed fatalities attributed to the fire include 1 firefighter and 1 civilian.[4]
Cedar San Diego 273,246 110,578.7 October 2003 2,820 15 The second-largest human-caused fire in modern California history.
Rush Lassen 271,911 110,038.5 August 2012 0 0 Of this fire, 43,666 acres (17,671.0 ha) burned in Nevada, for a total of 315,577 acres (127,709.5 ha)[5][6]
Rim Tuolumne 257,314 104,131.3 August 2013 112 0
Zaca Santa Barbara 240,207 97,208.3 July 2007 1 0
Matilija Ventura 220,000 89,030.8 September 1932 0 0
Witch San Diego 197,990 80,123.7 October 2007 1,650 2
Klamath Theater Complex Siskiyou 192,038 77,715.0 June 2008 0 2
Marble Cone Monterey 177,866 71,979.8 July 1977 0 0
Laguna San Diego 175,425 70,992.0 September 1970 382 5
Basin Complex Monterey 162,818 65,890.1 June 2008 58 0
Day Ventura 162,702 65,843.2 September 2006 11 0
Station Los Angeles 160,557 64,975.1 August 2009 209 2
Rough Fresno 151,623 61,359.7 July 2015 4 0
McNally Tulare 150,696 60,984.5 July 2002 17 0
Stanislaus Complex Tuolumne 145,980 59,076.0 August 1987 28 1
Big Bar Complex Trinity 140,948 57,039.6 August 1999 0 0
Happy Camp Complex Siskiyou 134,056 54,250.5 August 2014 6 0
Soberanes Monterey 132,127 53,469.9 July 2016 68 1
Campbell Complex Tehama 125,892 50,946.7 August 1990 27 0

Deadliest firesEdit

A list of the 20 deadliest fires, according to CAL FIRE, can be found here: http://calfire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/fact_sheets/Top20_Deadliest.pdf[7]

Topping the list is the 1933 Griffith Park fire, which killed 29 firefighters in Los Angeles, followed by the 1991 Tunnel (Oakland hills) fire, which killed 25 people, and the 2017 Tubbs fire in Napa and Sonoma Counties, which killed 22 people in and around Santa Rosa.

Most destructive firesEdit

A list of the 20 most destructive fires, according to CAL FIRE, can be found here: http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/fact_sheets/Top20_Destruction.pdf[8]

Pre-2000Edit

 
Remains of houses destroyed in the Oakland firestorm of 1991
  • Santiago Canyon Fire (1889). Burned on the order of 310,000 acres (130,000 ha).
  • Berkeley Fire (1923). Destroyed 640 structures, including 584 homes.
  • Griffith Park Fire (1933). Official death toll was 29 firefighters, but may have killed up to 58.
  • Rattlesnake Fire (1953). 15 firefighters were killed in this arsonist's fire.
  • Bel Air Fire (1961). 484 homes were destroyed; 112 injuries.
  • Laguna Fire (1970). 382 homes burned, killing eight people.
  • Painted Cave Fire (1990). 1 death and 430 buildings burned in this arson fire near Santa Barbara.
  • Oakland firestorm (1991). Killed 25 people. Destroyed 2,843 single-family homes and 437 multi-family units.
  • Mount Vision Fire (1995). 45 homes destroyed. Cause: illegal campfire.

Post-2000Edit

 
Satellite image of the 2003 Cedar Fire, the second-largest wildfire in California history

Starting in 2001, the National Interagency Fire Center began keeping more accurate records on the total fire acreage burned in each state.[9]

Yearly statisticsEdit

Year Fires Acres Hectares Ref
2000 7,622 295,026 119,392.8 [10]
2001 9,458 329,126 133,192.6 [11]
2002 8,328 969,890 392,500.6 [12][13]
2003 9,116 1,020,460 412,965.5 [14][15][16]
2004 8,415 264,988 107,236.8 [17][18]
2005 7,162 222,538 90,057.9 [19][20]
2006 8,202 736,022 297,857.5 [21][22]
2007 9,093 1,520,362 615,268.7 [23][10]
2008 4,923 1,593,690 644,943.5 [24][10]
2009 9,159 422,147 170,836.8 [25][26]
2010 6,554 109,529 44,324.8 [27]
2011 7,989 168,545 68,207.7 [28][29]
2012 7,950 869,599 351,914.2 [30]
2013 9,907 601,635 243,473.0 [31][32]
2014 7,865 555,044 224,618.3 [33]
2015 8,745 893,362 361,530.8 [34]
2016 6,986 565,070 228,675.7 [35]
Average 8,087 655,104 265,111.2

A 2015 study[36] addressed whether the increase in fire risk in California is attributable to climate change.[37]

Notable firesEdit

Note: † means fire is currently burning. Check primary sources for up-to-date statistics.

Name County Acres Hectares Start Contained Notes Ref
Rumsey Yolo 39,138 15,838.6 October 10, 2004 October 16, 2004 5 structures destroyed [38]
Old San Bernardino 91,281 36,940.1 October 21, 2003 November 25, 2003 975 structures destroyed [39]
Simi Ventura 108,204 43,788.6 October 25, 2003 November 5, 2003 315 structures destroyed [40]
Topanga Los Angeles 24,175 9,783.3 September 28, 2005 October 6, 2005 [41]
Esperanza Riverside 41,173 16,662.1 October 26, 2006 November 1, 2006 5 fatalities, 54 structures destroyed [42]
Island Los Angeles 4,750 1,922.3 May 10, 2007 May 15, 2007 6 structures destroyed [43]
Zaca Santa Barbara 240,207 97,208.3 July 4, 2007 September 4, 2007 1 structure destroyed [44]
Witch San Diego 197,990 80,123.7 October 21, 2007 November 6, 2007 1,650 structures destroyed [45]
Harris San Diego 90,440 36,599.8 October 21, 2007 November 5, 2007 472 structures destroyed; 1 fatality [46]
Santiago Orange 28,400 11,493.1 October 21, 2007 November 9, 2007 24 structures destroyed [47]
Corral Los Angeles 4,901 1,983.4 November 24, 2007 November 27, 2007 86 structures destroyed [48]
Indians Monterey 81,378 32,932.5 June 8, 2008 July 10, 2008 [49]
Basin Complex Monterey 162,818 65,890.1 June 21, 2008 July 27, 2008 [50]
Sesnon Los Angeles 14,703 5,950.1 October 13, 2008 October 18, 2008 [51]
Jesusita Santa Barbara 8,733 3,534.1 May 5, 2009 May 20, 2009 160 structures destroyed [52]
La Brea Santa Barbara 89,489 36,214.9 August 8, 2009 August 23, 2009 [53]
Lockheed Santa Cruz 7,817 3,163.4 August 12, 2009 August 23, 2009 13 structures destroyed [54]
Station Los Angeles 160,577 64,983.2 August 26, 2009 October 16, 2009 209 structures destroyed; 2 fatalities [55]
Guiberson Ventura 17,500 7,082.0 September 22, 2009 October 1, 2009 [56]
Rush Lassen 271,991 110,070.9 August 12, 2012 August 30, 2012 1 barn destroyed [57]
Springs Ventura 28,000 11,000 May 2, 2013 May 6, 2013 20 outbuildings destroyed [58]
Powerhouse Los Angeles 30,000 12,000 May 30, 2013 June 10, 2013 24 structures destroyed [59]
Mountain Riverside 27,531 11,141.4 July 15, 2013 July 21, 2013 23 structures destroyed [60]
Silver Riverside 20,292 8,211.9 August 7, 2013 August 12, 2013 48 structures destroyed [61]
Rim Tuolumne 257,314 104,131.3 August 17, 2013 October 24, 2013 112 structures destroyed [62]
Clover Shasta 8,073 3,267.0 September 9, 2013 September 15, 2013 68 homes destroyed; 1 fatality [63]
Happy Camp Complex Siskiyou 134,056 54,250.5 August 14, 2014 October 31, 2014 6 structures destroyed [64]
King El Dorado 97,717 39,544.7 September 13, 2014 October 9, 2014 80 structures destroyed [65]
Boles Siskiyou 516 208.8 September 15, 2014 October 11, 2014 157 structures destroyed [66]
Lake San Bernardino 31,359 12,690.5 June 17, 2015 August 1, 2015 4 structures destroyed [67]
North San Bernardino 4,250 1,719.9 July 17, 2015 July 21, 2015 7 structures destroyed [68]
Rocky Lake 69,438 28,100.6 July 29, 2015 August 14, 2015 43 structures destroyed [69]
Butte Amador and Calaveras 70,868 28,679.3 September 9, 2015 October 1, 2015 818 structures destroyed; 2 fatalities [70]
Valley Lake, Napa and Sonoma 76,067 30,783.2 September 12, 2015 October 15, 2015 1,955 structures destroyed; 4 fatalities [71]
Erskine Kern 47,864 19,369.9 June 23, 2016 July 11, 2016 309 buildings destroyed; 2 fatalities [72]
Sand Los Angeles 41,432 16,766.9 July 22, 2016 August 3, 2016 18 homes destroyed, 2 fatalities [73]
Soberanes Monterey 132,127 53,469.9 July 22, 2016 October 12, 2016 57 homes, 11 outbuildings destroyed, 1 fatality [74]
Chimney San Luis Obispo 46,344 18,754.8 August 13, 2016 September 6, 2016 68 structures destroyed [75]
Clayton Lake 3,929 1,590.0 August 13, 2016 August 26, 2016 175 structures destroyed, including a Habitat for Humanity office [76]
Blue Cut San Bernardino 37,000 14,973.4 August 16, 2016 August 23, 2016 105 homes, 213 outbuildings destroyed, 82,000+ evacuated [77]
Loma Santa Clara 4,474 1,810.6 September 26, 2016 October 12, 2016 28 structures destroyed [78]
Detwiler Mariposa 81,826 33,113.8 July 16, 2017 August 24, 2017 131 structures destroyed [79]
Tubbs Sonoma 36,807 14,895.3 October 8, 2017 October 31, 2017 5,643 structures destroyed; 22 fatalities [80][81][82]
Thomas Ventura and Santa Barbara 281,893 114,078.0 December 4, 2017 January 12, 2018 1,063 structures destroyed; 2 fatalities; 104,607 evacuated [83][84][85][86][87]
Lilac San Diego 4,100 1,659.2 December 7, 2017 December 16, 2017 157 structures destroyed; 10,000+ evacuated [88][89]

Areas of repeated ignitionEdit

 
The summer 2008 wildfires were widespread and deadly, with at least 3,596 wildfires of various origins burning throughout Northern and Central California, for around four months.

In some parts of California, fires can recur in areas with histories of fires. Examples of this are in Oakland, where fires of various size and ignition occurred in 1923, 1931, 1933, 1937, 1946, 1955, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1970, 1980, 1990, 1991, 1995, 2002, and 2008.[90][91] Other examples being Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and Los Angeles County. In the case of Orange and San Bernardino, these two counties share a county border that runs north to south through the Chino Hills State Park, with the park's landscape ranging from large green coastal sage scrub, grassland, and woodland, to areas of brown sparsely dense vegetation made drier by droughts or hot summers. The valley's grass and barren land can become easily susceptible to dry spells and drought, therefore making it a prime spot for brush fires and conflagration, many of which have occurred since 1914. Hills and canyons have seen brush or wildfires in 1914, the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and into today.[92]

On occasion, freak lightning strikes from thunderstorms may also spark wildfires in areas that have seen past ignition. Examples of this are the 1999 Megram Fire and the 2008 California wildfires.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Wildfires are growing more costly". NBC News. 2014-05-14. 
  2. ^ "Top 20 Largest California Wildfires" (PDF). CAL FIRE. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Brittny Mejia (December 15, 2017). "Thomas fire could surpass 1889 Santiago Canyon fire, believed to be California's largest". Retrieved December 15, 2017. 
  4. ^ https://apnews.com/03f87a77b1084653b5b976226cbf184f/The-Latest:-Barely-active,-California-wildfire-nears-record
  5. ^ "Rush Fire". Inciweb. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  6. ^ "Rush Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  7. ^ http://calfire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/fact_sheets/Top20_Deadliest.pdf
  8. ^ http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/fact_sheets/Top20_Destruction.pdf
  9. ^ "Statistics". National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c "California Wildfires and Acres for all Jurisdictions (1987-2016)" (PDF). CAL FIRE. August 1, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2017. 
  11. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2001" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  12. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2002" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
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  14. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2003" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "Large Fires 2003" (PDF). CAL FIRE. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  16. ^ "Otay Fire". CAL FIRE. October 27, 2003. Retrieved December 10, 2017. 
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  18. ^ "Large Fires 2004" (PDF). CAL FIRE. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2005" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  20. ^ "Large Fires 2005" (PDF). CAL FIRE. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  21. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2006" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  22. ^ "Large Fires 2006" (PDF). CAL FIRE. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  23. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2007" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
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  31. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2013" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
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  33. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2014" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  34. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2015" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 26 June 2016. 
  35. ^ "National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State 2016" (PDF). National Interagency Fire Center. Retrieved 11 November 2017. 
  36. ^ [1]
  37. ^ Yoon et al. (2015) Extreme Fire Season In California: A Glimpse Into The Future? https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283425168_EXTREME_FIRE_SEASON_IN_CALIFORNIA_A_GLIMPSE_INTO_THE_FUTURE#full-text
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  42. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanza_Fire
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  46. ^ "Harris Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
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  51. ^ "Sesnon Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  52. ^ "Jesusita Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  53. ^ "La Brea Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  54. ^ "Lockheed Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  55. ^ "Station Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  56. ^ "Guiberson Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
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  58. ^ Bernstein, Sharon (May 6, 2013). "Firefighters, helped by rain, mop up California wildfire". Reuters. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  59. ^ Watt, Brian (June 6, 2013). "Powerhouse Fire: 53 structures, 24 homes burned as officials revise estimates upward (map)". KPCC. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  60. ^ Cocca, Christine (July 31, 2013). "Mountain Fire Fully Contained After Raging for 16 Days". NBC 4 Southern California. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  61. ^ Cocca, Christian (August 13, 2013). "Silver Fire Reaches Full Containment". KNSD. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
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  66. ^ "Boles Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
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  69. ^ "Rocky Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  70. ^ "Butte Fire". CAL FIRE. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
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  74. ^ "Soberanes Fire". InciWeb. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  75. ^ "Chimney Fire approaching Monterey Co, threatens Hearst Castle". abc7news.com. 23 August 2016. 
  76. ^ "Clayton Fire devastates Lake County town; thousands flee". sfgate.com. 15 August 2016. 
  77. ^ "Blue Cut Fire burns 18,000 acres, 82,000 evacuated in San Bernardino County". abc7.com. 17 August 2016. 
  78. ^ "Loma Fire". CAL FIRE. 20 October 2016. 
  79. ^ "Detwiler Fire". CAL FIRE. 20 July 2017. 
  80. ^ California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Services (2017-12-17). "Top 20 Most Destructive Fires in California History" (PDF). CAL FIRE. Retrieved 2017-12-17. 
  81. ^ California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (2017-11-20). "Tubbs Fire (Central LNU Complex)". CAL FIRE. Archived from the original on 2017-11-30. Retrieved 2017-12-17. 
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  83. ^ "Thomas Fire". CAL FIRE. 27 December 2017. 
  84. ^ Melissa Etehad; Ruben Vives; Harriet Ryan; Alene Tchekmedyian (December 11, 2017). "At 230,000 acres, Thomas fire is now the fifth-largest wildfire in modern California history". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 11, 2017. 
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  86. ^ http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/fact_sheets/Top20_Acres.pdf
  87. ^ https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5670/
  88. ^ "Lilac Fire". CAL FIRE. 18 December 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017. 
  89. ^ https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Bonsall-San-Diego-Lilac-Fire-100-Percent-Contained-464616513.html
  90. ^ http://montclairoak.com/tag/oakland-hills-fire/
  91. ^ http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/fire/documents/webcontent/oak042168.pdf
  92. ^ http://www.hillsforeveryone.org/projects/fire-files/A-100-Year-History-of-Wildfires-Near-CHSP.pdf

External linksEdit