List of California wildfires

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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 and costly. U.S. taxpayers are paying about $3 billion a year to fight wildfires, triple what it cost in the 1990s, and big fires can lead to billions of dollars in property losses.[1]

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

A wildfire in California




  • Berkeley Fire (1923)
  • Freson Canyon Fire (1928)
  • Gypsum Fire (1929)



  • San Marcos Pass Fire (1940)
  • Hauser Creek Fire (1943)
  • Green River Fire (1948)


  • Rattlesnake Fire (1953)
  • Refugio Road Fire (1955)
  • Inaja Fire (1956)
  • Steward Fire (1958)
  • Decker Fire (1959)
  • Talega Fire (1959)


  • Bel Air Fire (1961)
  • Coyote Canyon Fire (1964)
  • Hanley-Nuns Canyon Fire (1964)
  • Wellman Canyon Fire (1966)
  • Loop Fire (1966)
  • Paseo Grande Fire (1967)
  • Canyon Inn Fire (1968)


  • Laguna Fire (1970)
  • Oakland Hills Wildfire (1970)
  • Romero Canyon Fire (1971)
  • San Clemente Fire (1976)
  • Sycamore Canyon Fire (1977)
  • Hondo Canyon Fire (1977)
  • Honda Canyon Fire (Vandenberg AFB) (1977)
  • Eagle Canyon Fire (1979)


  • Wildcat Canyon Fire (1980)
  • Panorama Fire (1980)
  • Indian Fire (1980)
  • Gypsum Canyon Fire (1982)
  • Mount Baldy Fire (1984)
  • Wheeler Fire (1985)
  • Normal Heights Fire (1985)
  • Silverado Canyon Fire (1987)
  • Pebble Beach Fire (1987)
  • Lauder Fire (1987)
  • Northern California Fire Siege (1987)


Remains of houses destroyed in the 1991 Oakland firestorm.
  • Leona Canyon Fire (1990)
  • Carbon Canyon Fire (1990)
  • Yorba Fire (1990)
  • Chino Hills Fire (1990)
  • Painted Cave Fire (1990)
  • Oakland Hills firestorm (1991)
  • Green Meadow fire[2]
  • Marre Fire (1993)
  • Laguna Beach Fire (1993)
  • Ortega Fire (1993)
  • Mount Vision fire (1995)
  • Baker Canyon Fire (1997)
  • Santa Anita II Fire (1999)
  • Megram Fire (1999)


Satellite image of the 2003 Cedar Fire. The Cedar Fire was the largest wildfire in California history.
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 4 months.


Satellite image of the wildfires in Southern California and Baja California, on May 15, 2014. 2014 was one of California's worst wildfire seasons on record.

Areas of repeated ignition[edit]

In some parts of California, fires can sometimes recur in areas that have had past histories of fires. Examples of this are in Oakland, which 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.[5][6] 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 parks 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, therefor making it a prime spot for brush fires and Conflagration, which many have occurred since 1914. Hills and canyons that have seen brush or wildfires in one or similar locations have occurred in 1914, the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and into today.[7]

On occasion, freak lighting strikes from Thunderstorms may also inadvertently spark wildfires in areas that have seen past ignition.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]