2017 California wildfires

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2017 California wildfires
California Wildfires 20170708.jpg
Smoke from the Alamo and Whittier fires during the 2017 California fire season, on July 8, 2017.
Statistics[1]
Total fires9,560[2]
Total area1,548,429 acres (6,266.27 km2)
Cost≥$18.0 billion (2018 USD) (Second-costliest on record)[3][4]
Buildings destroyed10,280
Deaths45 civilians, 2 firefighters
Non-fatal injuries12 firefighters, 199 civilians
Season
← 2016
2018 →

In terms of property damage, 2017 was the most destructive wildfire season on record in California at the time,[5] surpassed by only the 2018 season,[6][7] with a total of 9,560 fires[2] burning 1,548,429 acres (6,266.27 km2) of land, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, including five of the 20 most destructive wildland-urban interface fires in the state's history.[1][8][9] Throughout 2017, the fires destroyed or damaged more than 10,000 structures in the state (destroyed 9,470, damaged 810), a higher tally than the previous nine years combined.[1] State data showed that the large wildfires killed 47 people – 45 civilians and 2 firefighters – almost higher than the previous 10 years combined.[10] The total property damage and total amount of burned land were both surpassed by the 2018 California wildfires.

Throughout the early months of 2017, there was heavy rainfall over most of California, which triggered widespread flooding, thus temporarily mitigating the state's historic drought conditions. However, according to a report published by the National Interagency Fire Center, the potential for large fires was "expected to remain near normal through the spring, but once fine fuels dry out, there will likely be a spike in grass fire activity."[11]

In December 2017, strong Santa Ana winds triggered a new round of wildfires, including the massive Thomas Fire in Ventura County.[12][13] At the time, the Thomas Fire was California's largest modern wildfire, which has since been surpassed by the Mendocino Complex's Ranch Fire in 2018. The December 2017 fires forced over 230,000 people to evacuate, with the 6 largest fires burning over 307,900 acres (1,246 km2) and more than 1,300 structures.[14][15]

During the year, 5 of the 20 most destructive wildfires in the state's history burned between October and December: #1 Tubbs, #6 Nuns, #7 Thomas, #11 Atlas, and #17 Redwood Valley Complex.[9] The wildfires collectively caused at least $18.0 billion (2018 USD) in damages, including $13.2 billion in insured losses, $3 billion in other economic losses, and $1.8 billion in fire suppression costs, making the 2017 California fires the second-costliest on record.[3][4] The total economic cost, including fire suppression, insurance, direct and indirect economic losses, and recovery expenditures is estimated at about $180 billion (2017 USD).[16] This number includes economic harm to the wine industry, where several wineries in Napa and Sonoma were destroyed, and where many wine grapes were severely damaged by smoke. Cal Fire spent $700 million during fiscal year 2017, far exceeding the approximately $426 million the agency had budgeted that year for fire suppression.[10] This made 2017 the most expensive firefighting year on record in California state history.[17]

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2017 will be remembered as a year of extremes. It was the third-warmest year on record for the United States, and it was the second-hottest in California, bringing to the surface the question of long-term climate change and its contribution to the 2017 California fires. The hotter temperatures dry out vegetation, making them easier to burn, predisposing vulnerable regions like California to more wildfires in the coming decades as temperatures continue to rise and rainfall continues to decline.[10] Historically, it has been estimated that prior to 1850, about 4.5 million acres (17,000 km²) burned yearly, in fires that lasted for months.[18]

Wildfire maps[edit]

This section contains maps of the locations and burn areas of the fires that occurred during the largest outbreaks of the season. The burn areas of some major fires are included in some of the maps.


October 2017
Location of the California wildfires in October 2017
2017 California wildfires. Each dot shows the location (but not the extent) of a satellite-detected heat source. Click to enlarge.


December 2017
Location of the California wildfires in December 2017
The 2017 Northern California wildfires, from January 1 to October 11.

Wildfires[edit]

Below is a list of all fires that exceeded 1,000 acres (400 ha) during the 2017 California wildfire season, as well as the fires that caused significant damage.[19] The information is taken from CAL FIRE's list of large fires, and other sources where indicated.

Name County Acres Start Date Containment Date Notes Ref
Jayne Fresno 5,738 April 20, 2017 April 21, 2017 [20]
Opera Riverside 1,350 April 30, 2017 May 2, 2017 [21]
Elm Fresno 10,345 May 18, 2017 May 21, 2017 [22]
Gate San Diego 2,056 May 20, 2017 May 23, 2017 [23]
Oakwood Madera 1,431 June 10, 2017 June 13, 2017 [24]
Highway Kern 1,522 June 18, 2017 June 28, 2017 [25]
Holcomb San Bernardino 1,503 June 19, 2017 June 29, 2017 [26]
Schaeffer Tulare 16,031 June 24, 2017 August 10, 2017 [27]
Salmon August Complex Siskiyou 65,888 June 25, 2017 December 8, 2017 [28][29]
Manzanita Riverside 6,309 June 26, 2017 June 30, 2017 [30]
Hill San Luis Obispo 1,598 June 26, 2017 June 30, 2017 4 homes destroyed [31]
Winters Yolo 2,269 July 6, 2017 July 12, 2017 [32]
Alamo San Luis Obispo 28,687 July 6, 2017 July 19, 2017 1 home destroyed, 1 damaged [33]
Wall Butte 6,033 July 7, 2017 July 17, 2017 41 homes, 48 outbuildings destroyed, 10 damaged [34]
Whittier Santa Barbara 18,430 July 8, 2017 October 5, 2017 16 homes, 30 outbuildings destroyed, 7 damaged [35]
Parkfield Monterey 1,816 July 8, 2017 July 11, 2017 [36]
Garza Fresno 48,889 July 9, 2017 July 21, 2017 1 structure destroyed [37]
Long Valley Lassen 83,733 July 11, 2017 July 21, 2017 [38]
Detwiler Mariposa 81,826 July 16, 2017 August 24, 2017 63 homes, 68 structures destroyed (131 total), 21 damaged [39]
Modoc July Complex Modoc 83,120 July 24, 2017 August 16, 2017 [40]
Orleans Complex Siskiyou 27,276 July 25, 2017 September 26, 2017 [41]
Empire Mariposa 6,370 August 1, 2017 November 27, 2017 [42]
Parker 2 Modoc 7,697 August 3, 2017 August 29, 2017 [43]
Young Siskiyou 2,500 August 7, 2017 August 28, 2017 Merged into the Eclipse Complex's Oak fire [44]
South Fork Mariposa 7,000 August 13, 2017 November 27, 2017 [45]
Blaine Riverside 1,044 August 13, 2017 August 16, 2017 [46]
Eclipse Complex Siskiyou 78,698 August 15, 2017 November 29, 2017 [47]
Pier Tulare 36,556 August 29, 2017 November 29, 2017 [48]
Railroad Madera 12,407 August 29, 2017 October 24, 2017 5 homes, 9 structures destroyed [49]
Ponderosa Butte 4,016 August 29, 2017 September 9, 2017 32 homes, 22 outbuildings, 15 damaged [50]
Mud Lassen 6,042 August 29, 2017 September 1, 2017 [51]
Slinkard Mono 8,925 August 29, 2017 September 12, 2017 [52]
Helena Trinity 21,846 August 30, 2017 November 15, 2017 133 structures destroyed [53]
La Tuna Los Angeles 7,194 September 1, 2017 September 9, 2017 5 homes, 5 structures destroyed [54]
Palmer Riverside 3,874 September 2, 2017 September 6, 2017 [55]
Mission Madera 1,035 September 3, 2017 September 13, 2017 4 structures destroyed [56]
Buck Trinity 13,417 September 12, 2017 November 20, 2017 [57]
Lion Tulare 18,900 September 24, 2017 December 2, 2017 [58]
Canyon Riverside 2,662 September 25, 2017 October 4, 2017 6 structures damaged [59]
Cherokee Butte 8,417 October 8, 2017 October 16, 2017 [60]
Atlas Napa/Solano 51,624 October 8, 2017 October 31, 2017 6 fatalities, 785 structures destroyed, 40 damaged [61]
Tubbs Napa/Sonoma 36,807 October 8, 2017 October 31, 2017 22 fatalities, 1 injured, 5,643 structures destroyed [62]
Nuns Sonoma 56,556 October 8, 2017 October 30, 2017 Merged with the Norrbom, Adobe, Partrick, Pressley, and Oakmont Fires. 3 fatalities, 1,200 structures destroyed [63]
Redwood Valley Complex Mendocino 36,523 October 8, 2017 October 28, 2017 9 fatalities, 43 injured, 545 structures destroyed [64][65]
La Porte Butte 6,151 October 9, 2017 October 18, 2017 [66]
Cascade Yuba 9,989 October 9, 2017 October 18, 2017 4 fatalities, 143 residential, 123 outbuildings destroyed [67]
Sulphur Lake 2,207 October 9, 2017 October 26, 2017 150 structures destroyed [68]
Canyon 2 Orange 9,217 October 9, 2017 October 18, 2017 25 structures destroyed, 55 structures damaged [69]
37 Sonoma 1,660 October 9, 2017 October 13, 2017 [70]
Pocket Sonoma 17,357 October 9, 2017 October 31, 2017 [71]
Lobo Nevada 821 October 9, 2017 October 18, 2017 At least 30 structures destroyed [72]
Bear Santa Cruz 391 October 16, 2017 October 27, 2017 7 injuries, 4 structures destroyed [73]
Buffalo Fire San Diego 1,088 October 17, 2017 November 14, 2017 [74]
Wildomar Riverside 866 October 27, 2017 October 29, 2017 [75]
Thomas Ventura/Santa Barbara 281,893 December 4, 2017 January 12, 2018 1,063 structures destroyed, 280 structures damaged, 2 firefighters injured, 1 firefighter and 1 civilian killed [12][76][77][78][79]
Creek Los Angeles 15,619 December 5, 2017 January 9, 2018 123 buildings destroyed, 81 buildings damaged, 3 firefighters injured [80][81][82]
Rye Los Angeles 6,049 December 5, 2017 December 12, 2017 6 buildings destroyed, 3 structures damaged, 1 firefighter injured [83][12][84]
Little Mountain San Bernardino 260 December 5, 2017 December 7, 2017 3 injuries [85][86][87][88]
Skirball Los Angeles 422 December 6, 2017 December 15, 2017 6 structures destroyed, 12 structures damaged, 3 firefighters injured [89][90][91]
Lilac San Diego 4,100 December 7, 2017 December 16, 2017 157 structures destroyed, 64 structures damaged, 3 firefighters and 4 civilians injured [92][93]
Liberty Riverside 300 December 7, 2017 December 9, 2017 7 structures destroyed [94][95]

October Northern California wildfires[edit]

During the month of October, a series of wildfires broke out throughout Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Butte counties during severe fire weather conditions, effectively leading to a major red flag warning from much of the northern California area. In the extreme conditions, shortly after the fires ignited, they rapidly grew to become massive conflagrations spanning from 1,000 to well over 20,000 acres apart within a single day.[96] In addition, the fires have destroyed an estimated 8,900+ structures, and killed at least 44 people.[97] The fires burned over 245,000 acres (99,148 ha) of land,[70] and forced over 20,000 people to evacuate.[98][99]

December Southern California wildfires[edit]

Multiple wildfires ignited in December across Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Diego, Riverside, Santa Barbara Counties. The fires were exacerbated by unusually powerful and long-lasting Santa Ana winds, we had no rain in sight, cause of the drought, it has been driest December years ever record since 1989, and 1999.[100] as well as large amounts of dry vegetation grown, due to large amounts of precipitation earlier in the year. The fires burned over 307,900 acres (1,246 km2), and caused traffic disruptions, school closures, hazardous air conditions, and massive power outages. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties,[101] and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency for the city.[102] The largest fire was the Thomas Fire, which grew to 281,893 acres, becoming California's largest modern wildfire at the time, since surpassed by the Mendocino Complex's Ranch Fire in 2018.[103][104][105][106][107]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]