2021 California wildfires

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2021 California wildfires
Cafires vir 2021231 lrg.jpg
Smoke from multiple wildfires in California
Statistics[1]
Total fires8,619
Total area2,569,009 acres (1,039,641 ha)
CostUnknown
Date(s)
January 14–December 16
Buildings destroyed3,629
Deaths3
Non-fatal injuries22
Season
← 2020
2022 →

The 2021 California wildfire season was a series of wildfires that burned across the U.S. state of California. By the end of 2021 a total of 8,835 fires were recorded, burning 2,568,948 acres (1,039,616 ha) across the state.[1] Approximately 3,629 structures were damaged or destroyed by the wildfires, and at least seven firefighters and two civilians were injured.[1]

The wildfire season in California experienced an unusually early start amid an ongoing drought and historically low rainfall and reservoir levels.[2] In January 2021 alone, 297 fires burned 1,171 acres (4.74 km2) on nonfederal land according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which is almost triple the number of fires and more than 20 times the acreage of the five-year average for January.[3][2] The January fires were exacerbated by unseasonably strong Santa Ana winds, and some of them burned in the same areas as previous fires like the CZU Lightning Complex.[4]

The long term trend is that wildfires in the state are increasing due to climate change in California.[5][6] The 2021 wildfire season was exceptionally severe in California, although it did not approach the extent of the previous year's wildfire season, which was the largest season in the state's recorded history. As of July 11, more than three times as many acres have burned compared to the previous year through that date, with drought, extreme heat, and reduced snowpack contributing to the severity of the fires.[7][8][9] The state also faces an increased risk of post-wildfire landslides.[10][11]

As of August 18, 2021, the state of California was facing "unprecedented fire conditions" as multiple fires including the Dixie Fire, McFarland Fire, Caldor Fire, and others, raged on.[12] The USDA Forest Service temporarily closed California national forests at the end of August to mitigate the impact of potential fires.[13]

On October 18, 2021, much of the state—particularly Northern California, where the majority of the significant fires had been located—received its first major precipitation since the start of the wildfire season.[14] This significantly lowered wildfire risk in the region.

Impact[edit]

Fire cloud produced by the Dixie Fire, which became the largest single (non-complex) wildfire in California history by August 6, 2021
Firefighters setting a prescribed fire on January 27, 2021 near Ant Canyon in Kern County
Fire retardant and smoldering brush in the Tumbleweed Fire north of Los Angeles in July 2021

More than 120 families have been evacuated from the fires, and companies including PG&E have preemptively spent billions of dollars to reduce the risk of wildfires and avoid an event similar to the previous year's fire season.[4][15] Firefighters have also set prescribed fires to prevent other fires burning.[16][17][18][19] During evacuations from the Lava Fire, an illegal marijuana farmer was shot and killed by police after brandishing a firearm at authorities, while "defending his farm".[20][21]

List of wildfires[edit]

The Government of California's video about COVID-19 protocols in place at wildfire evacuation centers
Aerial view from the northwest of the Tiltill Fire's smoke plume, just north of the Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite

The following is a list of fires that burned more than 1,000 acres (400 ha), or produced significant structural damage or casualties.

Name County Acres Start date Containment date Notes Ref
Owens Kern 1,512 May 1 May 7 Unknown cause [22][23][24]
Southern San Diego 5,366 May 2 May 6 4 structures destroyed [25][23]
Palisades Los Angeles 1,202 May 14 May 26 Human-caused, suspected arson; 1 firefighter injured [26]
Sargents Monterey 1,100 May 30 June 2 Unknown cause [27]
Sierra San Diego 1,000 June 9 June 12 [28][29]
Willow Monterey 2,877 June 17 July 12 Unknown cause [30]
Mojave San Bernardino 2,490 June 17 June 26 Caused by lightning [31][32]
Nettle Tulare 1,265 June 18 July 2 [33][34][35][36]
Henry Alpine 1,320 June 24 July 27 Caused by lightning [37]
Lava Siskiyou 26,409 June 25 September 3 Caused by lightning; 23 structures destroyed; 1 structure damaged; 6 firefighters injured [38][39]
Shell Kern 1,984 June 27 July 2 Caused by a car fire [40][41]
Tennant Siskiyou 10,580 June 28 July 12 Unknown cause; 9 structures destroyed [42][43]
Salt Shasta 12,660 June 30 July 19 Caused by hot material falling off of a vehicle; 43 structures destroyed [44][45]
East Fork Alpine 1,136 July 1 July 11 Caused by lightning [46][47]
Beckwourth Complex Plumas, Lassen 105,670 July 3 September 22 Caused by lightning; includes the Dotta Fire and the Sugar Fire; 148 structures destroyed; 23 structures damaged [48]
Tamarack Alpine, Mono, Douglas (NV) 68,637 July 4 October 8 Caused by lightning; 25 structures destroyed; 7 structures damaged [49][50]
Juniper Modoc 1,011 July 5 July 13 Unknown cause [51]
River Mariposa, Madera 9,656 July 11 July 19 Unknown cause; 12 structures destroyed; 2 structures damaged [52]
Dexter Mono 2,965 July 12 July 27 Caused by lightning [53][54]
Dixie Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta, Tehama 963,309 July 13 October 25 Caused by contact between tree and power lines; 1,329 structures destroyed; 95 structures damaged; 1 firefighter fatality; 3 firefighter injuries. Merged with the Fly Fire on July 24. Second-largest wildfire and the largest single (non-complex) wildfire in recorded California history [55][56][57][58]
Peak Kern 2,098 July 20 August 12 Unknown cause; 1 structure destroyed [59]
Fly Plumas 4,300 July 22 October 25 Unknown cause; merged with the Dixie Fire on July 24 [60]
McFarland Shasta, Tehama, Trinity 122,653 July 29 September 16 Caused by lightning; 46 structures destroyed; 1 structure damaged; 6 firefighters injured [61]
Monument Trinity 223,124 July 30 October 25 Caused by lightning; 52 structures destroyed; 3 structures damaged [62]
River Complex Siskiyou, Trinity 199,359 July 30 October 25 Caused by lightning; 122 structures destroyed; 2 structures damaged; consists of 22 fires, of which the largest are the Haypress Fire, the Summer Fire, and the Cronan Fire [63]
McCash Siskiyou 94,962 July 31 October 27 Caused by lightning; 1 firefighter fatality [64][65]
Tiltill Tuolumne 2,323 July 31 October 15 Caused by lightning [66]
Antelope Siskiyou 145,632 August 1 October 15 Caused by lightning; 18 structures destroyed; 4 structures destroyed [67]
River Nevada, Placer 2,619 August 4 August 13 Unknown cause; 142 structures destroyed; 21 structures damaged; 4 injuries [68]
Caldor El Dorado, Amador, Alpine 221,835 August 15 October 21 Unknown cause; 1,003 structures destroyed; 81 structures damaged; 5 injuries [69]
Walkers Tulare 8,777 August 14 September 18 Caused by lightning [70]
French Kern 26,535 August 18 October 19 Human-caused; 49 structures destroyed; 6 structures damaged; 1 firefighter fatality [71][72]
South San Bernardino 819 August 25 September 1 Unknown cause; 17 structures destroyed [73]
Chaparral San Diego, Riverside 1,427 August 28 September 9 Unknown cause; 3 structures destroyed [74]
Knob Humboldt 2,421 August 29 September 12 Unknown cause [75]
Windy Tulare 97,528 September 9 November 15 Caused by lightning; 128 structures destroyed; 4 injuries [76]
KNP Complex Tulare 88,307 September 10 December 16 Caused by lightning; includes the Colony Fire and the Paradise Fire; 4 structures destroyed; 1 structure damaged [77]
Fawn Shasta 8,578 September 22 October 2 Suspected arson; 185 structures destroyed; 26 structures damaged; 3 injuries [78][79]
Alisal Santa Barbara 16,970 October 11 November 16 Unknown cause; 12 structures destroyed [80]

Wildfires listed by month[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Fire Statistics". CAL FIRE. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "California's rainfall is at historic lows. That spells trouble for wildfires and farms". The Guardian. February 11, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  3. ^ Arthur, Damon (February 2, 2021). "A bad omen for 2021? There were 297 wildfires in California in January, nearly tripling five-year average". USA Today. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Powerful Santa Ana wind event kindles January wildfires in California". The Washington Post. January 20, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  5. ^ "Wildfires & Climate Change". California Air Resources Board. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  6. ^ Field, Rebecca Miller,Katharine Mach,Chris. "Climate Change Is Central to California's Wildfires". Scientific American. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  7. ^ Popovich, Nadja (June 11, 2021). "How Severe Is the Western Drought? See For Yourself". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  8. ^ Smith, Hayley (July 12, 2021). "California hit by record-breaking fire destruction: 'Climate change is real, it's bad'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  9. ^ Meeks, Alexandra; Silverman, Hollie; Sutton, Joe (July 13, 2021). "Wildfires in California this year have scorched 3 times more land than in the same period of last year's record season". CNN. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  10. ^ Brackett, Ron (March 2, 2021). "Landslides After Wildfires in Southern California Will Become More Common, New Study Says". The Weather Channel. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  11. ^ "Post-wildfire landslides becoming more frequent in southern California". Science Daily. February 25, 2021.
  12. ^ Elamroussi, Aya; Chan, Stella (August 18, 2021). "'Unprecedented' conditions feed Northern California wildfire, forcing thousands to evacuate". CNN. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  13. ^ Stuart, Gwynedd (September 10, 2021). "A New Podcast Explores How Fire Shaped the West—and How We Can Live with It Moving Forward". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  14. ^ Duginski, Paul (October 13, 2021). "Late October rains could dampen wildfires and help with drought, forecasters say". Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ "PG&E, Other Utilities To Spend Billions To Cut Wildfire Risk In California". CBS Sacramento. February 6, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  16. ^ "KRRD 2021 Prescribed Fire Information". InciWeb. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  17. ^ "Cleveland RX Burning 2021 Information". InciWeb. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  18. ^ "WDRD 2021 Prescribed Fire Information". InciWeb. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  19. ^ "McKenzie Ranch Information". InciWeb. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  20. ^ Cortez, Alison (June 30, 2021). "Hostile pot farmers forced retreat from Lava Fire in Northern California, sheriff says". CBS Sacramento. Archived from the original on June 30, 2021.
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  22. ^ "Owens Fire Information". inciweb.nwcg.gov. May 2, 2021.
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  24. ^ "UPDATE: Shell Fire now at 90% containment; nearly 2,000 acres burned". KGET 17. July 1, 2021. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  25. ^ "Southern Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. May 3, 2021.
  26. ^ "Palisades Fire". lafd.org. May 16, 2021.
  27. ^ "Sargents Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. June 1, 2021.
  28. ^ "Wildfire burning on Camp Pendleton in north San Diego county". cbs8.com. June 1, 2021.
  29. ^ "National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report Saturday, June 12, 2021– 0730 MDT National Preparedness Level 2" (PDF). nifc.gov. June 12, 2021. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  30. ^ "Willow Fire". InciWeb. June 17, 2021. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  31. ^ "Mojave Fire". InciWeb. June 17, 2021. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  32. ^ "National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report Saturday, June 26, 2021– 0730 MDT National Preparedness Level 4" (PDF). nifc.gov. June 26, 2021. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  33. ^ Romero, Sheyanne (June 23, 2021). "Tulare County wildfire update: Nettle Fire inches toward full containment". Visalia Times Delta. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  34. ^ "Nettle Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. June 18, 2021.
  35. ^ "National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report Friday, July 2, 2021– 0730 MDT National Preparedness Level 4" (PDF). nifc.gov. July 2, 2021. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  36. ^ Jennings, Lauren. "Nettle Fire in Tulare county hits 1,800 acres, Success Fire nears containment". VisaliaTimesDelta.com. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  37. ^ "Henry Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  38. ^ "Lava Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. June 28, 2021. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  39. ^ "CAL FIRE California Statewide Fire Summary for Friday, September 3, 2021". September 3, 2021. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  40. ^ "Shell Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. June 28, 2021. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  41. ^ Smith, Hayley (June 29, 2021). "Northern California wildfire forces evacuations as blazes ignite across the state". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  42. ^ "Tennant Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. June 29, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  43. ^ Seidman, Lila (July 2, 2021). "Lava fire spreads as Salt and Tennant fires destroy homes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  44. ^ "Salt Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. June 29, 2021. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  45. ^ "Salt Fire: Latest on wildfire burning in Shasta County". KXTV. July 8, 2021. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  46. ^ "East Fork Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  47. ^ "National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report Sunday, July 11, 2021– 0730 MDT National Preparedness Level 4" (PDF). nifc.gov. July 11, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  48. ^ "Beckwourth Complex Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  49. ^ "Tamarack Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  50. ^ Timko, Steve (July 16, 2021). "Mandatory evacuation for Markleeville area; Tamarack Fire perimeter spreads". KOLO-TV. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  51. ^ "Juniper Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 7, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  52. ^ "River Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. July 12, 2021.
  53. ^ "Dexter Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 13, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  54. ^ "National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report Tuesday, July 27, 2021– 0730 MDT National Preparedness Level 5" (PDF). nifc.gov. July 27, 2021. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  55. ^ "Dixie Fire Information". inciweb.nwcg.gov. October 3, 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  56. ^ "Dixie Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. October 2, 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  57. ^ Bermel, Colby (August 6, 2021). "Dixie Fire becomes largest single wildfire in California history". Politico. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  58. ^ "Cal Fire investigators point to tree hitting PG&E power lines as cause of Dixie Fire". ABC10. January 5, 2022. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  59. ^ "Peak Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 20, 2021. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  60. ^ "Fly Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 22, 2021. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  61. ^ "McFarland Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 31, 2021. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  62. ^ "Monument Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. August 1, 2021. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  63. ^ "River Complex 2021 Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. August 3, 2021. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  64. ^ "McCash Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. August 6, 2021.
  65. ^ Gabbert, Bill (October 21, 2021). "Firefighter/paramedic dies of COVID and fungal infection". Wildfire Today. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
  66. ^ "Tiltill Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. August 7, 2021.
  67. ^ "Antelope Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. August 6, 2021. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  68. ^ "River Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. August 4, 2021.
  69. ^ "Caldor Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. August 15, 2021. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  70. ^ "Walkers Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. August 15, 2021. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  71. ^ "French Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. August 18, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  72. ^ Gabbert, Bill (September 5, 2021). "Two firefighters at California fires died, one from COVID, the other from unspecified illness". Wildfire Today. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  73. ^ "South Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. August 25, 2021.
  74. ^ "Chaparral Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. August 28, 2021.
  75. ^ "Knob Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. September 1, 2021. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  76. ^ "Windy Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. September 9, 2021. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  77. ^ "KNP Complex Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. September 10, 2021. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  78. ^ "Fawn Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. September 22, 2021. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  79. ^ Vera, Amir; Chan, Stella (September 27, 2021). "Woman charged with starting California's Fawn Fire while trying to boil water". CNN. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  80. ^ Yee, Gregory; Seidman, Lila (October 12, 2021). "Alisal fire explodes to 6,000 acres near Santa Barbara, closes 101 Freeway". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]