2021 California wildfires

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2021 California wildfires
Erbes Fire at about 30 acres.jpg
The Erbes Fire in Thousand Oaks on January 14, 2021
Statistics[1]
Total fires5,671
Total area484,519 acres (196,078 ha)
CostUnknown
Buildings destroyed323
Deaths0
Non-fatal injuries7
Season
← 2020
2022 →

The 2021 California wildfire season is an ongoing series of wildfires that have burned across the state of California. As of July 26, 2021, a total of 5,566 fires have been recorded, burning 458,429 acres (185,520 ha) across the state.[1] At least 323 buildings have been destroyed by the wildfires, and at least 7 firefighters have been injured battling the fires.[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] In terms of the amount of fires burned, the 2021 season has been outpacing the 2020 season, which itself 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]

Impact[edit]

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
The Dixie Fire in Plumas County and Butte County produces a pyrocumulus cloud. Such a fire cloud forms when scorched air and strong winds within a fire meet moisture in the atmosphere. On July 22, the Dixie Fire surpassed 100,000 acres, becoming the second California wildfire in 2021 to surpass that acreage milestone.

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][12] Firefighters have also set prescribed fires to prevent other fires burning.[13][14][15][16] 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".[17][18]

Haze[19][20] from the fires in Littleton, Massachusetts on July 26, 2021.

List of wildfires[edit]

The Government of California's video about COVID-19 protocols in place at wildfire evacuation centers.

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 [21][22][23]
Southern San Diego 5,366 May 2 May 6 4 structures destroyed [24][22]
Palisades Los Angeles 1,202 May 14 May 26 Human-caused, suspected arson; 1 firefighter injured [25]
Sargents Monterey 1,100 May 30 June 2 Unknown cause [26]
Sierra San Diego 1,000 June 9 June 12 [27][28]
Willow Monterey 2,877 June 17 July 12 Unknown cause [29]
Mojave San Bernardino 2,490 June 17 June 26 Caused by lightning [30][31]
Nettle Tulare 1,265 June 18 July 2 [32][33][34][35]
Henry Alpine 1,320 June 24 July 27 Caused by lightning [36]
Lava Siskiyou 26,365 June 25 78% contained as of July 29 Caused by lightning; 23 structures destroyed; 1 structure damaged; 6 firefighters injured [37]
Shell Kern 1,984 June 27 July 2 Caused by a car fire [38][39]
Tennant Siskiyou 10,580 June 28 July 12 Unknown cause; 9 structures destroyed [40][41]
Salt Shasta 12,660 June 30 July 19 Caused by hot material falling off of a vehicle; 43 structures destroyed [42][43]
East Fork Alpine 1,136 July 1 July 11 Caused by lightning [44][45]
Beckwourth Complex Plumas, Lassen 105,670 July 3 98% contained as of July 29 Caused by lightning; includes the Dotta Fire and the Sugar Fire; 148 structures destroyed [46]
Tamarack Alpine, Douglas (NV) 68,571 July 4 59% contained as of July 29 Caused by lightning and forest management error that allowed the wildfire to spread; 15 structures destroyed [47][48]
Juniper Modoc 1,011 July 5 July 13 Unknown cause [49]
River Mariposa, Madera 9,656 July 11 July 19 Unknown cause; 12 structures destroyed; 2 structures damaged [50]
Dexter Mono 2,965 July 12 July 27 Caused by lightning [51][52]
Dixie Butte, Plumas 221,504 July 14 23% contained as of July 29 Caused by a PG&E line downed by a falling tree; 64 structures destroyed; 8 structures damaged. Burning very close to the Camp Fire burn scar from 2018. Merged with the Fly Fire on July 24. [53]
Peak Kern 2,098 July 20 95% contained as of July 29 Unknown cause; 1 structure destroyed [54]
Fly Plumas 4,300 July 22 5% contained as of July 29 Unknown cause; merged with the Dixie Fire on July 24 [55]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Fire Statistics". CAL FIRE. Retrieved May 3, 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". ww2.arb.ca.gov. 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. ^ "PG&E, Other Utilities To Spend Billions To Cut Wildfire Risk In California". February 6, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  13. ^ "KRRD 2021 Prescribed Fire Information". InciWeb. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  14. ^ "Cleveland RX Burning 2021 Information". InciWeb. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  15. ^ "WDRD 2021 Prescribed Fire Information". InciWeb. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  16. ^ "McKenzie Ranch Information". InciWeb. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  17. ^ Cortez, Alison (June 30, 2021). "Hostile pot farmers forced retreat from Lava Fire in Northern California, sheriff says".
  18. ^ "Lava Fire: Officers Kill Gunman Near Pot Farms In Evacuation Area; 13,000 Acres Burned". June 29, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  19. ^ McGrath, Cassie (July 26, 2021). "Air Quality Action Day in effect: Haze and smoky odor in Massachusetts sky on Monday due to Western and Canadian wildfires". masslive. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  20. ^ "Wildfires on West Coast Prompt 'Unhealthy' Air Quality Alert in Mass". NBC Boston. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  21. ^ "Owens Fire Information". inciweb.nwcg.gov. May 2, 2021.
  22. ^ a b "National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report Friday, May 7, 2021– 0730 MDT National Preparedness Level 2" (PDF). nifc.gov. May 7, 2021. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  23. ^ "UPDATE: Shell Fire now at 90% containment; nearly 2,000 acres burned". KGET 17. July 1, 2021. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  24. ^ "Southern Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. May 3, 2021.
  25. ^ "Palisades Fire". lafd.org. May 16, 2021.
  26. ^ "Sargents Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. June 1, 2021.
  27. ^ "Wildfire burning on Camp Pendleton in north San Diego county". cbs8.com. June 1, 2021.
  28. ^ "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.
  29. ^ "Willow Fire". InciWeb. June 17, 2021. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  30. ^ "Mojave Fire". InciWeb. June 17, 2021. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  31. ^ "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.
  32. ^ Romero, Sheyanne (June 23, 2021). "Tulare County wildfire update: Nettle Fire inches toward full containment". Visalia Times Delta. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  33. ^ "Nettle Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. June 18, 2021.
  34. ^ "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.
  35. ^ Jennings, Lauren. "Nettle Fire in Tulare county hits 1,800 acres, Success Fire nears containment". VisaliaTimesDelta.com. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  36. ^ "Henry Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  37. ^ "Lava Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. June 28, 2021. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  38. ^ "Shell Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. June 28, 2021. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  39. ^ Smith, Hayley (June 29, 2021). "Northern California wildfire forces evacuations as blazes ignite across the state". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  40. ^ "Tennant Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. June 29, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  41. ^ Seidman, Lila (July 2, 2021). "Lava fire spreads as Salt and Tennant fires destroy homes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  42. ^ "Salt Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. June 29, 2021. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  43. ^ "Salt Fire: Latest on wildfire burning in Shasta County". KXTV. July 8, 2021. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  44. ^ "East Fork Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 5, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  45. ^ "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.
  46. ^ "Beckwourth Complex Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  47. ^ "Tamarack Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  48. ^ Timko, Steve (July 16, 2021). "Mandatory evacuation for Markleeville area; Tamarack Fire perimeter spreads". KOLO-TV. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  49. ^ "Juniper Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 7, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  50. ^ "River Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. July 12, 2021.
  51. ^ "Dexter Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 13, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  52. ^ "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.
  53. ^ "Dixie Fire Information". fire.ca.gov. July 14, 2021. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  54. ^ "Peak Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 20, 2021. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  55. ^ "Fly Fire Information". inciweb.nwgc.gov. July 22, 2021. Retrieved July 23, 2021.

External links[edit]