Basin Complex Fire

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Basin Complex Fire
BasinFireArea-JPBurnsParkDSC 2015-w.jpg
Aerial view of Basin Fire Burn Area at Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park, on September 1.
LocationMonterey County, California
Cost$120 million (2008 USD)
Date(s)June 21, 2008 (2008-06-21) – July 27, 2008 (2008-07-27)
Burned area162,818 acres (659 km2)
DeathsNone reported
Non-fatal injuriesNone reported

The Basin Complex Fire was a massive wildfire near Big Sur that ignited on June 21, 2008, and was the result of a lightning strike. It eventually grew to 162,818 acres (658.90 km2), becoming the second-largest wildfire of the 2008 California wildfire season, and burning most of the Ventana Wilderness. State and federal officials spent more than $120 million to fight the fire, making it is the most expensive fire in California history up to that time, and the second most expensive in U.S. history, exceeded only by the Biscuit Fire in 2002.[3] Eventually, the Thomas Fire surpassed the Basin Complex Fire in firefighting costs as well.

The fire[edit]

The fire forced the evacuation of Big Sur prior to the July 4 holiday weekend.[4] Camp Pico Blanco was forced to evacuate the camp and diverted its Scouts to Boulder Creek Scout Reservation in Santa Cruz. The camp lost only one building, an outlying ranger's cabin.[5] Big Sur residents were permitted to return on July 9.[6]

As of 2017, the fire is the eleventh-largest wildfire in California, since accurate records began in 1932.[1]

A house burnt down in the Basin Fire, 2008


  1. ^ a b "Top 20 Largest California Wildfires" (PDF). CAL FIRE. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Inciweb: Basin Complex". InciWeb. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Basin Complex Fire (Reposted)". Western Institute for Study of the Environment. W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking. July 25, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  4. ^ Fehd, Amanda (July 3, 2008). "Big Sur evacuated as massive wildfire spreads". Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
  5. ^ "Boy Scout Camp Damaged in Basin Creek Complex Fire" (PDF). Salinas, California: Monterey Bay Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. July 23, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
  6. ^ Thompson, Don (2008-07-09). "Thousands evacuate as flames near Paradise, Calif". Associated Press.