California’s wildfires have caused so much devastation throughout the past decade. All throughout the state, firefighter efforts have been absolutely exhausted. Just in 2020, approximately 9,917 fires had burned 4,397,809 acres, the most acreage recorded in modern history. Most of the acres burned during the August Complex Fire. It burned over 1 million acres over the span of 7 counties. Poor forest management and higher temperatures attributed to the intensity of that particular fire season.
How has wildfire history from the last decade fared compared to today? Let’s take a look at the statistics of some of California’s largest wildfires that have occurred since 2012.
So far, 21,343 acres and 2 structures have burned in California. The Lost Lake Fire in Riverside County burned 5,856 fires and is the largest fire thus far in 2022
The Dixie Fire, named the largest single wildfire in recorded California history. 963,309 acres burned among Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta and Tehama Counties over the course of 3 months. Over 1300 structures were destroyed and 95 structures damaged
The Monument Fire in Trinity County burned 223,124 acres. During 2 months, 52 structures were destroyed and 3 structures were damaged.
The Caldor Fire burned 221,835 acres and destroyed 1,003 structures, with 81 structures damaged.
The River Complex Fire consisted of 22 wildfires that burned across Siskiyou and Trinity Counties, with 199,359 acres. Caused by lightning, 122 structures were destroyed and 2 structures were damaged.
The August Complex Fire burned across Glenn, Mendocino, Lake, Tehama, Trinity and Shasta Counties with a total acreage of 1,032,648. 38 separate fires merged to cause this much damage, the original main fires were the Doe and Elkhorn Fires. 935 structures were destroyed and 5 structures were damaged.
The SCU Lightning Complex consisted of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Merced and Stanislaus Counties. 396,624 acres burned. The Deer Zone, Marsh, Canyon Zone and other surrounding fires combined into one major fire incident, destroying 222 structures and damaging 26 structures.
The Creek Fire spread across Fresno and Madera Counties with an acreage total of 379,895. 856 structures were destroyed and 71 structures were damaged.
The LNU Lightning Complex Fire took place in Colusa, Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Yolo Counties with a total of 363,220 acres. 1,491 structures were destroyed and 232 structures were damaged. The Hennessey Fire, Walbridge Fire and Meyers Fire were all caused by lightning and merged to form this Complex Fire.
2019The Kincade Fire in Sonoma County was the largest fire of 2019, and was caused by PG&E’s electrical transmission lines. 77,758 acres burned, 374 structures were destroyed and 40 structures were damaged.
The Walker Fire in Plumas County burned 54,612 acres. Thankfully no structures were impacted by Genesee Valley was placed under a mandatory evacuation order.
The Camp Fire started in Butte County and was the most expensive natural disaster insurance loss in 2018. 153,336 acres were burned. This fire destroyed about 95% of the towns of Paradise and Concow. At least 18,000 structures were destroyed within the fire’s first four hours.
The Woolsey Fire affected Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and burned 96,949 acres. 1,643 structures were destroyed and more than 295,000 people were evacuated.
The Carr Fire burned 1,604 structures and 229,651 acres across Shasta and Trinity Counties. The fire crossed the Sacramento River, causing 38,000 people from the Redding area to evacuate.
The Mendocino Complex Fire was a combination of the River and Ranch Fires and burned 459,102 acres and 229 structures. It took place in Lake, Mendocino, Colusa and Glenn Counties. The Ranch Fire was caused by sparks made with a hammer and stake.
2017 October Wildfires
There were a total of 250 individual fires that started in early October 2017. The wildfires broke out throughout Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Mendocino, Butte and Solano Counties during severe fire weather conditions.
Some of the largest fires included:
Nuns Fire in Napa and Sonoma Counties at 56,556 acres, 1,355 structures destroyed
Atlas Fire in Napa and Solano Counties at 51,624 acres, 781 structures destroyed, 120 structures damaged
Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County at 36,807 acres, 5,643 structures destroyed, 317 structures damaged
Redwood Valley Fire in Mendocino County at 36,523 acres, 545 structures destroyed
The largest fire to burn this year was the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County for a total of 132,100 acres. 57 homes and 11 outbuildings were destroyed.
The Valley Fire started in Lake County and burned 76,067 acres. 1,955 structures were destroyed as well as most of the towns of Middletown, Hidden Valley Lake and Cobb
The Jerusalem Fire affected Napa and Lake Counties at 25,118 acres, destroying 6 homes and 21 outbuildings.
The Rocky Fire affected Lake, Yolo and Colusa Counties and burned 69,438 acres, including 50 structures (24 of them were homes).
The largest fire in 2015 was the Rough Fire in Fresno County, clearing 151,623 acres. Although it burned for a little over 3 months, only 4 buildings were destroyed as most of the land burned was in the Sequoia National Forest, Sierra National Forest, and Kings Canyon National Park.
2014The Happy Camp Complex in Siskiyou County was the largest fire in 2014, burning 134,056. No buildings have been reported as destroyed; the fire took place in the Klamath National Forest and was started by lightning strikes.
The King Fire in El Dorado County burned 97,717 acres as well as 49 structures. It started to the east of Sacramento. The cause of the fire was arson.
The Rim Fire started in the Stanislaus National Forest and at the time was the second largest fire in California’s recorded history. It burned 257,314 acres and was caused by an illegal camping fire. 11 homes, 3 commercial buildings and 98 outbuildings were destroyed among Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties.
The Rush Fire was the largest wildfire of the 2012 California fire season. It started in Lassen County and ended in Washoe County, Nevada. 315,577 acres were burned as well as one single barn.