2018 California wildfires

Last updated

2018 California wildfires
1
2
3
4
5
1
Garner Complex
2
Natchez Fire
3
Carr Fire
4
Mendocino  Complex
5
Ferguson Fire
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
Statistics [1] [2] [3]
Total fires8,434
Total area1,890,438 acres (765,033 ha)
Cost>$3.5 billion (2018 USD) [4] [5] [6] [7]
Fatalities98 civilians and 6 firefighters killed [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]
Non-fatal injuriesAt least 80 total
Season
  2017
2019  

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. [1] [2] [3] The fires have caused more than $3.5 billion (2018 USD) in damages, including $1.792 billion in fire suppression costs. [4] [5] [6] [7] Through the end of August 2018, Cal Fire alone spent $432 million on operations. [17] 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. [18] [19]

Contents

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. [20]

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 people [16] and 3 [16] still unaccounted for. It destroyed more than 18,000 structures, becoming both California's deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record.

Increased fire susceptibility

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. [21]

Increase in fuel

A direct contributor to the 2018 California wildfires was an increase in dead tree fuel. [22] By December 2017, there were a record 129 million dead trees in California. [23]

Atmospheric conditions

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. [24]

Residential construction in the wildland-urban interface

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. [25] 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%. [26] In the past, when these areas burned, no residences were lost, but now residences are present, which end up being destroyed. [27]

Air quality

Air quality of California on 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. [28] 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.

Wildfires

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.

NameCountyAcresStart dateContainment dateStatusNotesRef
Pleasant Inyo 2,070February 18, 2018April 3, 2018Contained [29]
Moffat Inyo 1,265April 19, 2018May 21, 2018Contained [30]
Nees Merced 1,756May 2, 2018May 17, 2018Contained [31]
Patterson Riverside 1,261May 17, 2018May 21, 2018Contained [32]
Panoche San Benito 64June 4, 2018June 7, 2018Contained3 civilians killed [33] [8]
Stone Los Angeles 1,352June 4, 2018June 13, 2018Contained [34]
Airline San Benito 1,314June 4, 2018June 14, 2018Contained [35]
Apple Tehama 2,956June 9, 2018June 14, 2018Contained3 residential structures and 2 outbuildings destroyed [36]
Chrome Glenn 2,290June 9, 2018June 21, 2018Contained1 outbuilding destroyed [37]
Lions Madera 13,347June 11, 2018October 1, 2018Contained [38] [39]
Planada Merced 4,564June 15, 2018June 21, 2018Contained [40]
Yankee San Luis Obispo 1,500June 20, 2018July 1, 2018Contained [41]
Lane Tehama 3,716June 23, 2018July 4, 2018Contained1 injury [42]
Pawnee Lake 15,185June 23, 2018July 8, 2018Contained22 structures destroyed, 1 injury [43]
Creek Madera 1,678June 24, 2018July 5, 2018Contained4 residential structures and 7 minor structures destroyed [44]
Waverly San Joaquin 12,300June 29, 2018July 2, 2018Contained [45]
County Lake, Napa, Yolo 90,288June 30, 2018July 14, 2018Contained20 structures destroyed; 1 firefighter injured [46]
Klamathon Siskiyou 38,008July 5, 2018July 16, 2018Contained82 structures destroyed; 3 injuries, 1 civilian killed [47] [48]
Valley San Bernardino 1,350July 6, 2018October 22, 2018Contained5 injured [49] [50] [4]
Holiday Santa Barbara 113July 6, 2018July 11, 2018Contained20 structures destroyed [51]
Pendleton Complex San Diego 1,800July 6, 2018July 11, 2018ContainedOriginated as 3 separate fires; burned in Camp Pendleton [52] [53]
West San Diego 504July 6, 2018July 11, 2018Contained56 structures destroyed [54]
Georges Inyo 2,883July 8, 2018July 18, 2018Contained [55] [56] [4]
Ferguson Mariposa 96,901July 13, 2018August 18, 2018Contained19 firefighters injured, 2 firefighters killed; 10 structures destroyed [9] [57]
Eagle Modoc 2,100July 13, 2018July 17, 2018Contained [58] [4]
Natchez Del Norte, Siskiyou 38,134July 15, 2018October 30, 2018Contained [59] [60]
Carr Shasta 229,651July 23, 2018August 30, 2018Contained1,079 residences, 22 commercial structures, 503 outbuildings destroyed - 190 residences, 26 commercial structures, and 63 outbuildings damaged; 3 firefighters and 5 civilians killed [61]
Cranston Riverside 13,139July 26, 2018August 10, 2018Contained12 buildings destroyed [62]
Mendocino Complex Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, Glenn 459,123July 27, 2018September 18, 2018ContainedThe 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 [63] [64] [19] [65]
Whaleback Lassen 18,703July 27, 2018August 7, 2018Contained [66]
Butte Sutter 1,200July 31, 2018August 3, 2018Contained [67]
Donnell Tuolumne 36,450August 1, 2018October 1, 2018Contained135 structures destroyed; 9 civilians injured [68]
Tarina Kern 2,950August 3, 2018August 6, 2018Contained [69]
Pendleton San Diego 1,000August 5, 2018August 6, 2018ContainedBurned in Camp Pendleton [70]
Turkey Monterey 2,225August 6, 2018August 6, 2018Contained [71]
Holy Orange, Riverside 23,136August 6, 2018September 13, 2018Contained18 structures destroyed; 3 firefighters injured [72] [73] [74] [75]
Five Kings 2,995August 6, 2018August 8, 2018Contained [76]
Hirz Shasta 46,150August 9, 2018September 12, 2018Contained [77]
Hat Shasta 1,900August 9, 2018August 16, 2018Contained [78]
Nelson Solano 2,162August 10, 2018August 12, 2018Contained [79]
Stone Modoc 39,387August 15, 2018August 29, 2018Contained [80]
Mill Creek 1 Humboldt 3,674August 16, 2018August 30, 2018Contained [81]
Front San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara 1,014August 19, 2018August 29, 2018Contained [82]
North Placer 1,120September 3, 2018September 16, 2018Contained [83]
Boot Mono 6,974September 4, 2018September 15, 2018Contained [84]
Kerlin Trinity 1,751September 4, 2018September 17, 2018Contained [85]
Delta Shasta 63,311September 5, 2018October 7, 2018ContainedMerged into the Hirz Fire; 20 structures destroyed [86]
Snell Napa 2,490September 8, 2018September 15, 2018Contained [87]
Charlie Los Angeles 3,380September 22, 2018October 1, 2018Contained [88] [89]
Alder Tulare 4,653October 4, 2018December 7, 2018Contained [90]
Eden Tulare 1,777October 4, 2018December 7, 2018Contained [91] [92]
Branscombe Solano 4,700October 7, 2018November 9, 2018Contained4 structures destroyed [93] [94]
Sun Tehama 3,889October 7, 2018October 12, 2018Contained [95]
Mountaineer Tulare 1,270October 13, 2018December 7, 2018Contained [96]
Camp Butte 153,336November 8, 2018November 25, 2018Contained

5 firefighters injured, 86 civilian deaths, 12 civilians injured, 3 civilians missing; 18,804 structures destroyed, 564 structures damaged

[97] [98] [16]
Nurse Solano 1,500November 8, 2018November 27, 2018Contained [99]
Hill Ventura 4,531November 8, 2018November 15, 2018Contained4 structures destroyed [100]
Woolsey Los Angeles, Ventura 96,949November 8, 2018November 22, 2018Contained1,643 structures destroyed, 364 damaged [101] [102] [103]

Fatalities

The Woolsey Fire encroaching on Malibu on November 9

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. [8] [104] The remains were believed to belong to a mother, a toddler, and an infant. [8] [105]

On July 14, a Cal Fire bulldozer operator was killed while fighting the Ferguson Fire, becoming the first firefighter death of the season. [9]

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. [10] [11] [106]

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". [12]

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. [13]

On August 9, a Cal Fire heavy equipment mechanic was killed in a traffic incident while working at the Carr Fire. [14]

On August 13, a firefighter was killed while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire. [15]

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. [107] Three people also died during the Woolsey Fire near Malibu. [108] The number dead was lowered to 85 by early December when it was discovered one victim was put in several bags. [16]

Verizon Wireless data throttling

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. [109] [110]

See also

References

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  2. 1 2 "2018 National Year-to-Date Report on Fires and Acres Burned" (PDF). NIFC. November 9, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  3. 1 2 "Southern Area Coordination Center". Southern Area Coordination Center. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
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  15. 1 2 "Mendocino Complex Press Conference" (PDF). Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 Nugent, Ciara (4 December 2018). "Camp Fire Death Toll Lowered After Human Remains Were Mistakenly Sorted into Separate Bags". Time. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
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  32. "Patterson Fire". CAL FIRE . Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  33. "Panoche Fire". CAL FIRE. June 7, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
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  35. "Airline Fire". CAL FIRE. June 14, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  36. "Apple Fire". CAL FIRE. June 14, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  37. "Chrome Fire". CAL FIRE. June 21, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  38. "Lions Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. October 1, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  39. "Lions Fire". CAL FIRE. June 26, 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  40. "Planada Fire". CAL FIRE. June 21, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  41. "Yankee Fire". CAL FIRE. July 1, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  42. "Lane Fire". CAL FIRE. June 27, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  43. "Pawnee Fire". CAL FIRE. July 8, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  44. "Creek Fire". CAL FIRE. July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  45. "Waverly Fire". CAL FIRE. July 2, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  46. "County Fire". CAL FIRE. July 14, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  47. "Klamathon Fire". CAL FIRE. July 14, 2018. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  48. Browning, Kellen; Brown, Daniel (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.
  49. "Valley Fire Information". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. October 22, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
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  51. "Holiday Fire". CAL FIRE. July 13, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
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  54. "West Fire". CAL FIRE. July 11, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  55. "Georges Fire". CAL FIRE. September 4, 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  56. "Georges Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 24, 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  57. "Ferguson Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. September 19, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  58. "Eagle Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. July 15, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  59. "Natchez Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. October 7, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  60. "Natchez Fire". CAL FIRE. October 30, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  61. "Carr Fire". CAL FIRE. August 30, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  62. "Cranston Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  63. "Mendocino Complex Information". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  64. "River Fire". CAL FIRE. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  65. Driscoll, Curtis (July 28, 2018). "Cal Fire renames River and Ranch fires the Mendocino Complex Fire". Ukiah Daily Journal. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  66. "Whaleback Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. July 28, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  67. "Butte Fire". CAL FIRE. August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  68. "Donnell Fire: Incident information". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. October 1, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  69. "Tarina Fire". CAL FIRE. August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
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  71. "Turkey Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group . Retrieved August 7, 2018.
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  74. "Holy Fire". CAL FIRE. August 26, 2018. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
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  76. "Five Fire General Information". CAL FIRE. August 8, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  77. "Hirz Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. September 12, 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  78. "Hat Fire". CAL FIRE. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  79. "Nelson Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group . Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  80. "Stone Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 29, 2018. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  81. "Mill Creek 1 Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 30, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  82. "Front Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. August 29, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  83. "North Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. September 16, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  84. "Boot Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. September 15, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  85. "Kerlin Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  86. "Delta Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. October 7, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  87. "Snell Fire". CAL FIRE. September 15, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  88. "Charlie Fire". CAL FIRE. September 25, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  89. "Charlie Fire Incident Information". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. October 1, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  90. "Alder, Mountaineer, and Moses Fires". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. November 9, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  91. "Two Fires Start to Grow in Remote Areas of Sequoia National Park". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. November 21, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  92. "Eden Fire". National Wildfire Coordinating Group. November 24, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  93. "Branscombe Fire". CAL FIRE. November 9, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
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  95. "Sun Fire". CAL FIRE. October 12, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
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  97. "Incident Information CAMP FIRE". Cal Fire . Retrieved November 22, 2018.
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  99. "Nurse Fire". CAL FIRE. November 9, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  100. "Hill Fire". CAL FIRE. November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  101. Gonzales, Ruby; Cain, Josh (November 14, 2018). "Woolsey fire death toll increases to 3, body found in charred Agoura Hills home". San Gabriel Valley Newspapers. Retrieved November 14, 2018 via The Mercury News.
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  104. Gomez, Mark (June 5, 2018). "Three discovered dead in San Benito County wildfire". The Mercury News . Retrieved June 5, 2018.
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  109. Brodkin, Jon (August 21, 2018). "Verizon throttled fire department's "unlimited" data during Calif. wildfire". Ars Technica. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
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