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|2018 California wildfires|
An August 1, 2018, satellite image of the wildfires burning in Northern California and Southern Oregon; smoke can be seen trailing northeastward over Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho
|Total area||1,890,438 acres (765,033 ha)|
|Cost||>$3.5 billion (2018 USD)|
|Fatalities||98 civilians and 6 firefighters killed|
|Non-fatal injuries||At least 80 total|
The 2018 wildfire season is the most destructive and deadly wildfire season on record in California, with a total of 8,434 fires burning an area of 1,890,438 acres (765,033 ha), the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in a fire season, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), as of December 6. The fires have caused more than $3.5 billion (2018 USD) in damages, including $1.792 billion in fire suppression costs. Through the end of August 2018, Cal Fire alone spent $432 million on operations. The Mendocino Complex Fire burned more than 459,000 acres (186,000 ha), becoming the largest complex fire in the state's history, with the complex's Ranch Fire surpassing the Thomas Fire and the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 to become California's single-largest recorded wildfire.
In mid-July to August 2018, a series of large wildfires erupted across California, mostly in the northern part of the state, including the destructive Carr Fire and the Mendocino Complex Fire. On August 4, 2018, a national disaster was declared in Northern California, due to the extensive wildfires burning there.
In November 2018, strong winds caused another round of large, destructive fires to erupt across the state. This new batch of wildfires includes the Woolsey Fire and the Camp Fire, the latter of which killed at least 86 peopleand 3 still unaccounted for. It destroyed more than 18,000 structures, becoming both California's deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record.
Many different factors led to the 2018 California wildfire season becoming so destructive. A combination of an increased amount of natural fuel and compounding atmospheric conditions linked to global warming led to a series of destructive fires. Recent research on wildfires in California, published in August 2018, predicted an increase in the number of wildfires as a consequence of climate change.
A direct contributor to the 2018 California wildfires was an increase in dead tree fuel.By December 2017, there were a record 129 million dead trees in California.
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 led to higher temperatures and less rain, creating a drier landscape that gave fires more fuel to burn longer and stronger.
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. Since the 1990s, over 43% of new residential buildings have been constructed in this area. In some areas, the amount of new residences in those areas is 80%. In the past, when these areas burned, no residences were lost, but now residences are present, which end up being destroyed.
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.Air quality in Northern and Central California remained poor until mid-September 2018, when fire activity was drastically diminished. However, during the November Camp Fire, air quality diminished again, with the majority of the Bay being subjected to air quality indexes (AQIs) of 200 and above, in the "unhealthy" region.
The following is a list of fires that burned more than 1,000 acres (400 ha), or produced significant structural damage or loss of life.
|Name||County||Acres||Start date||Containment date||Status||Notes||Ref|
|Pleasant||Inyo||2,070||February 18, 2018||April 3, 2018||Contained|
|Moffat||Inyo||1,265||April 19, 2018||May 21, 2018||Contained|
|Nees||Merced||1,756||May 2, 2018||May 17, 2018||Contained|
|Patterson||Riverside||1,261||May 17, 2018||May 21, 2018||Contained|
|Panoche||San Benito||64||June 4, 2018||June 7, 2018||Contained||3 civilians killed|
|Stone||Los Angeles||1,352||June 4, 2018||June 13, 2018||Contained|
|Airline||San Benito||1,314||June 4, 2018||June 14, 2018||Contained|
|Apple||Tehama||2,956||June 9, 2018||June 14, 2018||Contained||3 residential structures and 2 outbuildings destroyed|
|Chrome||Glenn||2,290||June 9, 2018||June 21, 2018||Contained||1 outbuilding destroyed|
|Lions||Madera||13,347||June 11, 2018||October 1, 2018||Contained|
|Planada||Merced||4,564||June 15, 2018||June 21, 2018||Contained|
|Yankee||San Luis Obispo||1,500||June 20, 2018||July 1, 2018||Contained|
|Lane||Tehama||3,716||June 23, 2018||July 4, 2018||Contained||1 injury|
|Pawnee||Lake||15,185||June 23, 2018||July 8, 2018||Contained||22 structures destroyed, 1 injury|
|Creek||Madera||1,678||June 24, 2018||July 5, 2018||Contained||4 residential structures and 7 minor structures destroyed|
|Waverly||San Joaquin||12,300||June 29, 2018||July 2, 2018||Contained|
|County||Lake, Napa, Yolo||90,288||June 30, 2018||July 14, 2018||Contained||20 structures destroyed; 1 firefighter injured|
|Klamathon||Siskiyou||38,008||July 5, 2018||July 16, 2018||Contained||82 structures destroyed; 3 injuries, 1 civilian killed|
|Valley||San Bernardino||1,350||July 6, 2018||October 22, 2018||Contained||5 injured|
|Holiday||Santa Barbara||113||July 6, 2018||July 11, 2018||Contained||20 structures destroyed|
|Pendleton Complex||San Diego||1,800||July 6, 2018||July 11, 2018||Contained||Originated as 3 separate fires; burned in Camp Pendleton|
|West||San Diego||504||July 6, 2018||July 11, 2018||Contained||56 structures destroyed|
|Georges||Inyo||2,883||July 8, 2018||July 18, 2018||Contained|
|Ferguson||Mariposa||96,901||July 13, 2018||August 18, 2018||Contained||19 firefighters injured, 2 firefighters killed; 10 structures destroyed|
|Eagle||Modoc||2,100||July 13, 2018||July 17, 2018||Contained|
|Natchez||Del Norte, Siskiyou||38,134||July 15, 2018||October 30, 2018||Contained|
|Carr||Shasta||229,651||July 23, 2018||August 30, 2018||Contained||1,079 residences, 22 commercial structures, 503 outbuildings destroyed - 190 residences, 26 commercial structures, and 63 outbuildings damaged; 3 firefighters and 5 civilians killed|
|Cranston||Riverside||13,139||July 26, 2018||August 10, 2018||Contained||12 buildings destroyed|
|Mendocino Complex||Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, Glenn||459,123||July 27, 2018||September 18, 2018||Contained||The Ranch and River Fires are collectively called the Mendocino Complex Fire. 157 residential buildings destroyed, 123 others destroyed – 13 residential buildings and 24 other buildings damaged; 1 firefighter killed, 4 firefighters injured|
|Whaleback||Lassen||18,703||July 27, 2018||August 7, 2018||Contained|
|Butte||Sutter||1,200||July 31, 2018||August 3, 2018||Contained|
|Donnell||Tuolumne||36,450||August 1, 2018||October 1, 2018||Contained||135 structures destroyed; 9 civilians injured|
|Tarina||Kern||2,950||August 3, 2018||August 6, 2018||Contained|
|Pendleton||San Diego||1,000||August 5, 2018||August 6, 2018||Contained||Burned in Camp Pendleton|
|Turkey||Monterey||2,225||August 6, 2018||August 6, 2018||Contained|
|Holy||Orange, Riverside||23,136||August 6, 2018||September 13, 2018||Contained||18 structures destroyed; 3 firefighters injured|
|Five||Kings||2,995||August 6, 2018||August 8, 2018||Contained|
|Hirz||Shasta||46,150||August 9, 2018||September 12, 2018||Contained|
|Hat||Shasta||1,900||August 9, 2018||August 16, 2018||Contained|
|Nelson||Solano||2,162||August 10, 2018||August 12, 2018||Contained|
|Stone||Modoc||39,387||August 15, 2018||August 29, 2018||Contained|
|Mill Creek 1||Humboldt||3,674||August 16, 2018||August 30, 2018||Contained|
|Front||San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara||1,014||August 19, 2018||August 29, 2018||Contained|
|North||Placer||1,120||September 3, 2018||September 16, 2018||Contained|
|Boot||Mono||6,974||September 4, 2018||September 15, 2018||Contained|
|Kerlin||Trinity||1,751||September 4, 2018||September 17, 2018||Contained|
|Delta||Shasta||63,311||September 5, 2018||October 7, 2018||Contained||Merged into the Hirz Fire; 20 structures destroyed|
|Snell||Napa||2,490||September 8, 2018||September 15, 2018||Contained|
|Charlie||Los Angeles||3,380||September 22, 2018||October 1, 2018||Contained|
|Alder||Tulare||4,653||October 4, 2018||December 7, 2018||Contained|
|Eden||Tulare||1,777||October 4, 2018||December 7, 2018||Contained|
|Branscombe||Solano||4,700||October 7, 2018||November 9, 2018||Contained||4 structures destroyed|
|Sun||Tehama||3,889||October 7, 2018||October 12, 2018||Contained|
|Mountaineer||Tulare||1,270||October 13, 2018||December 7, 2018||Contained|
|Camp||Butte||153,336||November 8, 2018||November 25, 2018||Contained|
5 firefighters injured, 86 civilian deaths, 12 civilians injured, 3 civilians missing; 18,804 structures destroyed, 564 structures damaged
|Nurse||Solano||1,500||November 8, 2018||November 27, 2018||Contained|
|Hill||Ventura||4,531||November 8, 2018||November 15, 2018||Contained||4 structures destroyed|
|Woolsey||Los Angeles, Ventura||96,949||November 8, 2018||November 22, 2018||Contained||1,643 structures destroyed, 364 damaged|
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. The remains were believed to belong to a mother, a toddler, and an infant.
On July 14, a Cal Fire bulldozer operator was killed while fighting the Ferguson Fire, becoming the first firefighter death of the season.
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, two firefighters and four civilians had been killed.
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".
On August 4, a Pacific Gas and Electric Company employee was killed in a vehicle incident while working to restore services to areas impacted by the Carr Fire.
On August 9, a Cal Fire heavy equipment mechanic was killed in a traffic incident while working at the Carr Fire.
On August 13, a firefighter was killed while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire.
On November 9, 2018, at least 88 civilians were killed by the Camp Fire, while three firefighters were injured, the fire also destroyed more than 10,321 structures, becoming the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history.Three people also died during the Woolsey Fire near Malibu. The number dead was lowered to 85 by early December when it was discovered one victim was put in several bags.
The Santa Clara County Fire Department raised claims against Verizon Wireless that their "unlimited" data service had been throttled while the fire department was attempting to contain the Mendocino Complex Fire.[ when? ] Their plan was intended to be throttled down to 200 kbit/s or 600 kbit/s after 25 GB a month, and it would be removed under emergency situations. According to the department, this was not followed, even after Verizon was notified.
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