Talk:October 2017 Northern California wildfires

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Merge all fire articles to this one?[edit]

The details on these fires all have a lot of overlap. I'm not sure it's necessary to have ten individual articles. And several of the shorter ones have copied most of the lead of the Tubbs Fire article without proper attribution (see WP:Copying within Wikipedia). This is not my usual area of editing so I'm not sure what the standard is, but it seems to me that it might be better to merge to one article and redirect the individual pages here. Funcrunch (talk) 17:13, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

I support this. They can all be covered in one article. Natureium (talk) 17:34, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Pinging the creators of the individual articles for input: NorthBySouthBaranof, Galtzerdiak, Ethanbas. Funcrunch (talk) 18:04, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
I was going to suggest this too. For one thing, the Reliable Source coverage is being merged; it's almost impossible to find a fire identified by name in the reporting, which is lumping them all together. I think we should do this soon, not wait for a lot of people to weigh in. --MelanieN (talk) 19:17, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Let's do it then. Easy enough to undo if someone has a good reason. I merged in all but 2 of the articles that were just clones of each other with different names swapped in. One of the others has information that relates to all the fires (100 hospitalized, 13 dead). Natureium (talk) 20:24, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. I think it would still be good to merge Atlas Fire and Tubbs Fire here as well, but I'd like to give a bit more time for the creators of those articles to weigh in. Funcrunch (talk) 22:08, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
P.S. For a model, here's how we did that when there were a bunch of simultaneous fires in San Diego County: May 2014 San Diego County wildfires. --MelanieN (talk) 19:20, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Would suggest waiting on a merge until the bigger fires are out. Notability of individual fires may be sufficient by the time they're done and we're done documenting that it's worth keeping them separate. Tubbs and Atlas are still active, very large & destructive, and the one up in Mendicino killed several people. (talk) 00:33, 11 October 2017 (UTC) [ user Georgewilliamherbert who's got work related access issues at the moment ]
I have no objection in principle, but GWH raises a good point. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 09:36, 11 October 2017 (UTC)!
A problem is that editors keep adding fatalities and other statistics to the Tubbs Fire and Atlas Fire articles that actually apply to all of the NorCal fires combined. It's not always obvious from news reports which fires are responsible for which deaths and property destruction, and readers are unlikely to care about the names chosen for the specific fires as much as the overall impact on the area. Funcrunch (talk) 19:04, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
At this point, I'd say merge them. Natureium (talk) 19:55, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
The problem that I have with this proposal is that the Butte County fires are geographically and demographically different from the fires in Napa and Sonoma Counties. So far, I have not seen a single detailed news report that describes the Butte County events as part of the urban interface fires that are ravaging Napa and Sonoma. The Mendocino fires are kind of intermediate in this assessment. Solano County is not yet mentioned here but fires have clearly spread from Wild Horse Valley in Napa County to the Green Valley area of Solano County, and Governor Brown has, I believe, added Solano to the disaster declaration. Since I live in Napa County, I am really very emotional about this crisis and the widespread loss of life at this time, so I admit my bias. But I think that a local perspective from experienced editors can be helpful. This will be an event studied and remembered for decades to come, comparable to the Oakland firestorm of 1991, and perhaps much worse in the end. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:26, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Correction: I see that Solano County is mentioned. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:29, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
How would it be listed at List_of_California_wildfires#Largest_Fires? As one? Toddst1 (talk) 03:04, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Toddst1, that list focuses on acreage and seems to consist of a list of individual fires. Many took place in remote areas. This event consists of dozens of individual fires. Although the combined acreage is significant, that is not the story. The real impact is that these fires are moving into urban areas, killing many people, destroying thousands of homes and businesses, including hotels, a high school, a major performing arts center, many wineries, dairies, and has forced extensive evacuations from several cities. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 03:18, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Some of the fires may need individual articles but there should be no issue with providing a summary here with a main article link. CAL Fire website seems to be updated as regularly as the INCIWEB incident information website that details mostly federal lands fires and incidents, so it is a reliable source that can be used for individual fire information.--MONGO 12:16, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I tend to agree with this view. Summaries here, but keep separate articles where separate articles are warranted either due to geographical differences, lasting impact, severity, etc. (talk) 19:07, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

I came to this discussion because of I am preparing articles on the wildfires for the German WP. — IMHO a discussion about merging the several articles is premature, since some of the fires might merge for themselves. Further, merging veryy likely would break the structre of the 2017 California wildfires article in which this article might or might not be merged in. --Matthiasb (talk) 13:01, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

FYI, Natureium already merged all of the articles except for Atlas Fire and Tubbs Fire, as the others had no original content at the time; see above discussion. Funcrunch (talk) 15:09, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
The Tubbs Fire can certainly be expanded into a B-class article, and I plan to do that in the next day or two. (I speak from personal experience - I live one town to the north of Santa Rosa, and parts of the Tubbs Fire are still burning about four miles from where I live.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:36, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

I've withdrawn my merge suggestion for the Atlas and Tubbs fires, as it appears both articles (Tubbs Fire in particular) are being actively expanded, and have more potential as standalone articles than some of the others that have already been merged. There also doesn't seem to be a consensus for merging the remaining articles at this time. Funcrunch (talk) 00:37, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

The separate article on 2017 California wildfires should certainly be merged into this present one. As regards all those for individual fires, I suggest leaving them alone for the moment until the fires have burnt out/terminated, at which time the separate articles can be re-evaluated. Rif Winfield (talk) 08:35, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

@Rif Winfield: The 2017 California wildfires article covers the entire state, not just Northern California like this article. I don't think it would be appropriate to merge in here. Funcrunch (talk) 14:00, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
I did appreciate the fact! As I said above, let's await the final end of these wildfires (in Southern California as well as the Northern California ones) and then merge or re-write the articles as appropriate. It may well be that there should be a separate article covering the wildfires in the South, but we can judge that afterwards. Rif Winfield (talk) 15:35, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Partrick or Patrick[edit]

The state made a spelling error in their report page and the correct name of the fire is Patrick as it is on Patrick road....[1]--MONGO 14:35, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

The spelling of the road is Partrick; see Google Maps. Funcrunch (talk) 14:40, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Apparently that is correct...early news reports must have misspelled it.--MONGO 16:00, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
"Partrick" is correct and I was yelling at the TV last night as several reporters understandably mispronounced it. I have lived in the Napa Valley for 25 years and have seen editors unfamiliar with the geography make major errors in these articles, in good faith. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 01:38, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Nevada County?[edit]

Why are the fires in Nevada County not included in this article? At least two fires, the Lobo Fire and the McCourtney Fire destroyed 40 homes in Nevada County. It seems that they should be included in an article about a firestorm, especially considering that they started the same day, and by similar means.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:206:8100:6810:4907:52d2:36a6:6f6c (talkcontribs) 7:04, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

I think we are only listing fires of more than 1000 acres in the table, but I have no objection to smaller ones being mentioned (with appropriate citations). Funcrunch (talk) 16:21, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Cause of fires[edit]

As of October 12, 2017, it is still early, and the causes of most, if not all of the fires are listed by CAL FIRE as "under investigation". However, late on October 11, 2017, The The Mercury News of San Jose, California, reported that just prior to the fires breaking out there were numerous calls to emergency services reporting downed power lines in various areas, presumably caused by the high winds on Sunday evening, October 8. The story also mentioned that power lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. have been the cause of a number of wildfires in the recent past. Such should be added to the article once more concrete information becomes available. — Quicksilver (Hydrargyrum)T @ 17:26, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Looks like it was picked up by Washington Post. Still nothing definite. (talk) 19:09, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
I have added a short section, trying to keep it strictly to the facts reported. We don't want to encourage speculation, but if reliable sources mention possible causes it should be addressed. Augurar (talk) 20:22, 15 October 2017 (UTC)


Re the IP's infobox request, I was not sure how or if to add the standard wildfire infobox that is on the articles of the individual fires, because this article covers multiple fires. If someone else has a good way to do it please feel free... Funcrunch (talk) 06:15, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

Red Flag Warnings[edit]

Red flag warnings are issued by the National Weather Service. This is incorrectly listed as CalFire issuing this warnings. Particularly, the National Weather Service office in Monterey California covers the North Bay ( — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 17 October 2017 (UTC)


User:NorthBySouthBaranof—I see that you reverted Dicklyon's downcasing of "Atlas fire" etc. It is WP's practice (see MOSCAPS) to cap only where the overwhelming majority of sources consistently use caps. This is not the case. And indeed, such caps in the main text make something of a fool of the article title, which is downcased. Please argue your case for capping here. Tony (talk) 05:47, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

The article title is no longer downcased; I moved it back per WP:BRD. As per the wide array of other previous articles about individual named wildfires, the name is entirely a proper name - South Canyon Fire, Station Fire (2009), etc. This is because these are proper names of fires, as designated by various wildland fire agencies. It isn't the Atlas fire, it's the Atlas Fire. At least since the advent of modern wildland fire control and the Incident Command System, this has been so. Official sources (CalFire, USFS, etc.) are entirely consistent in capitalizing it. As I just explained to Dicklyon, other sources can vary. Some don't capitalize it, but many others do. In a situation where one set of sources is inconsistent and another is entirely consistent, I would argue that we should stick with the consistent sources. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 05:54, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
To repost what I wrote to Dicklyon, The Chronicle, the largest newspaper in Northern California, capitalizes "Fire," as does the Arizona Republic, KRON, the Sacramento Bee, KQED, CNBC, and others. Again, at the least, we have a situation where one group of sources is entirely inconsistent in their treatment of the name. Another set of sources (the official sources) are invariably consistent in capitalizing it. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 05:55, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
Furthermore, see Category:Wildfires_in_California_by_year - virtually every single article about a modern wildfire in California uses the existing capitalized treatment. This is not by accident, this is because we've consistently adhered to the standard. This applies throughout the United States as well - c.f. Category:2017_Montana_wildfires, Category:Wildfires_in_Colorado, etc. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 05:58, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
That's the circular reasoning fallacy. The articles are capitalized because a knot of editors at a wikiproject wanted to overcapitalize, and now they're claiming they're capitalizing because the already-existing articles are capitalized.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:39, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
You don’t need to personalize this. The style is as it is because that’s how it is in the real world, not because of some supposed conspiratorial “cabal” if editors. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 22:07, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
See also the Wikipedia:WikiProject Wildfire discussion and standardization of this issue; WP:WILDFIRE-NAME. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 06:25, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
By the way, I don't see anywhere in WP:MOSCAPS which says anything about "the overwhelming majority of sources." What I see under Proper names (and Tubbs Fire is a proper name of a thing) is Proper names of specific places, persons, terms, etc. are capitalized in accordance with standard usage. It is standard usage by official and academic sources (see International Journal of Wildland Fire, here referencing the Cedar Fire and Santiago Canyon Fire) to capitalize "Fire" in reference to a specific wildland fire in the United States and it is at least *widespread* among other sorts of reliable sources. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 07:43, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
I agree that we should defer to the convention established at WP:WILDFIRE-NAME, and not do any more mass-renaming of pages without first gaining consensus at the appropriate articles and/or WikiProjects. Funcrunch (talk) 14:46, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
WP:WILDFIRE-NAME is some WP:PROJPAGE essay that directly contradicts MOS:CAPS, a site-wide guideline, so that's a WP:CONLEVEL failure. This is precisely the kind of overcapitaliztion MOSCAPS advises against; it inspires other editors to a) overcapitalize "Whatever Seems Important to Me", and b) to try to force style from specialist publications onto our generalist encyclopedia, often in conflicting ways.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:39, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
It is not “whatever seems important to me.” It is the proper name of a wildfire incident. As I have noted, there are an array of non-specialist sources that similarly adhere to the capitalization style. The MOS does not in any way “conflict” with the WikiProject style, because the MOS makes no definitive statement against the current style. Your bald assertion otherwise does not hold water. I have referenced the MOS statement above about proper naming, which clearly does not contradict current practice. Please stop referring to the MOS as if it is either a) codified law or b) definitive and final proof of your position. It is neither, and constantly demanding that it is so does not help advance the discussion. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 22:06, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
If sources do not consistently capitalize it, it's not a proper name, it's people capitalizing for emphasis to "big note" something. We've been over this about 1,000 times in other subjects, and this one is not any different.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:25, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
While neither wildfires nor capitalization standards are my areas of specialty, I really don't think it's appropriate for Dicklyon to be mass-renaming these articles without prior discussion and consensus. Funcrunch (talk) 22:31, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
I really don't know what you mean by "big note" something. The fact is, wildfire incidents in the United States have proper names, assigned to them by the responding authorities. The fact that the Cedar Fire is so named is not an accident of history or of sources; it is a deliberately-chosen proper name assigned. It is a specific proper name for a specific thing. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 22:35, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
  • "Fire" should be capitalized. It's a proper name, given by the firefighting authorities. The firefighting authorities themselves capitalize ([2]) and the vast majority of news media follow suit. A small number of media outlets (for example, the Los Angeles Times) do not follow this convention, but they're in the minority. The San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the San Jose Mercury News, KTVU, CBS, Washington Post, for example, all capitalize the F. The only exception seems to be when reciting a string of fire names, sharing a single instance of the plural "fires"; you might see, for example, a reference to "the Tubbs and Pocket fires," with a lower-case F. TJRC (talk) 23:02, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
    • As I've pointed out, the fact that some organisation caps it doesn't make it a a proper name. There's lots of indiscriminate capping out there (mainly either unconscious boosterism or unthinking copy-catting). WP's guides say that capping in sources needs to be pretty consistent (and that's not annual report sources, which are full of boosterism; or marketing). Tony (talk) 23:07, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
      • It's not some organisation, it's damn near all of them, from the firefighting authorities, to media, to academia. TJRC (talk) 23:16, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
    • You're wrong about some of those. The SF Chronicle is inconsistent (even within a page). See more lowercase in the Merc,,, Marin Independent Journal, Reuters, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The LA Daily News, Lake County News, Wine Spectator, KNWA, Eureka Times Standard, Golden Gate Xpress, New Newsledger, and lots more. Dicklyon (talk) 01:23, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
      • Doesn't matter since Fire in the titles discussed is a proper noun which is capitalized.--MONGO 02:05, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
        • Asserting that these are proper names isn't saying anything except "I'm right, you're wrong, don't want to hear it." It seems more likely to me that these many news sources are NOT making a mistake, and we would also NOT be making a mistake to conclude that these official fire designators are NOT proper names. Dicklyon (talk) 02:52, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
          • Proper noun, not name. Think Brooklyn Bridge, Grinnell Glacier, Lewis and Clark Expedition.--MONGO 15:29, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 18 October 2017[edit]

Pressley Fire is not mentioned in this article. It was pulled into the Nuns Fire, it was small but destructive. My house was damaged and 5 of my neighbors lost everything. It seems that it has earned it's place on the page. Thank you! 2601:645:0:16BC:A8C4:306F:E0E7:BD5F (talk) 23:25, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

Already done See the section on the Nun fire: October 16, the combined fire, which now also included the Pressley fire, covered over 48,000 acres. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 23:33, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

Arrest of illegal immigrant, ICE request, falsely linked to deadly fires[edit]

Already completely removed by two editors, reliable media sources with worldwide presence including New York Times has reported on the "false" linking of the arrest to the fire, as well as the arrest and reports by ICE, Infowars, Breitbart, and CNBC which bring up the possibility that the suspect, or people like him, could be linked to the deadly fires even though he was arrested only for starting a fire which was quickly put out. While arson is not a "mainstream" theory, it has been mentioned as a goal and known tactic of terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda, and the sancturary issue was mentioned by ICE and is a major part of the Steinle controversy. It is up to question whether starting a fire is a "serious" enough crime to inform ICE given that over 40 people were killed a fire. The suspect is obviously lying about trying to stay warm in 78 degree weather and the authorities are obviously trying to downplay and rule out the possibility that he might have started the larger fires, that somebody like him might have been the cause of the fires, or that the fire he started could have gotten out of control and killed 40 people. None of these arguments justify deletion of a clearly notable arrest which is related to the fires. This version of events clearly includes both sides accusing the suspect of being an illegal immigrant who nearly started another fire who should have been deported instead of arrested and released a dozen times before, and the other side saying that unreliable new sources made up a story that an illegal immigrant started the fires that killed 41. This edit can be improve, but it should be included somewhere in this article as it is clearly relevant. The sheriff clearly said "we don't know if it was arson, it could have started any number of ways" yet the mostly likely way for fires to start up in so many ways in one hour, and in so many parts of California is that people who can't be connected to any nation state or terrorist group walk around setting fires "to keep warm" compared to natural fire starting causes. Nothing in the investigation section mentions any of the common arson theories, and this arrest is a curious ommision since it was back in October. Bachcell (talk) 16:27, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

On October 15, 2017 homeless man Jesus Fabian Gonzalez was arrested after walking away from a fire carrying a lighter and fire extinguisher started "to keep warm" in Sonoma County, California. It brought immigration policies into question as Gonzalez was an undocumented immigrant who immigration officials said has been returned twice to Mexico after a recently passed sanctuary state law prohibited law enforcement from sharing information about people with immigration agents unless convicted of serious crimes [1] [2] He was being held in jail on an arson and unrelated drug charge. When ICE asked to detain him for deportation Sheriff Rob Giordano refused as it was not signed by a judge and administrative detainers are unconstitutional. ICE stated it was "troubling in light of the massive wildfires...criminals who would otherwise be deported will be released". Cal Fire continued to investigate each fire despite the arson arrest as deadly fires still burned in the area. [3] Right-wing websites including Breitbart and InfoWars were debunked after linking the arrest to deadly October 2017 Northern California wildfires but Sheriff Rob Giordano said that was "highly unlikely” that Gonzalez was involved, and accused ICE of attacking "the sheriff’s office in the midst of the largest natural disaster this county has ever experienced” [4] [5] [6]


  1. ^ "'Sanctuary state' law doesn't spell significant change for Sonoma County law enforcement". Press Democrat. 5 October 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  2. ^ "California's deadliest fires set off debate about illegal immigration and sanctuary policies". Los AngelesTimes. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  3. ^ "Cal Fire continues to probe cause of deadly wildfires despite arson arrest". CNBC. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  4. ^ Sabalow, Ryan (17 October 2017). "Sonoma sheriff shoots down right-wing reports linking arson suspect to wine country fires". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  5. ^ Street, Chriss (17 October 2017). "ICE Detainer Issued for Suspected Wine Country Arsonist in Sonoma Jail". Sacramento Bee]]. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  6. ^ (ICE)%5d "Statement from ICE Acting Director on Sonoma County's repeated releases of dangerous criminal alien" Check |url= value (help). 
My first issue with this is that it has too much emphasis on a single person and the status of their residency. My second is that it seems like most of the coverage is proving that there is no connection between the fires and the person, which reduces in my view how relevant they are to the topic. My third issue is a breakdown of "it has been mentioned as a goal and known tactic of terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda, and the sancturary issue was mentioned by ICE and is a major part of the Steinle controversy." To start, we do not have any reason at this time to presume that there is any involvement by any terrorist group nor do we have any reason to believe the person is involved in any way with any "nation state" nor a terrorist organization. In addition, 'the sanctuary issue' seems to not be relevant to me nor any reference to "the Steinle controversy." My final issue is with the rest of the paragraph. First, the fire started by this person appears to be clearly separate from the wildfires and thus the "inform ICE" part does not seem to be needed since the group has already release a statement on the person. Next, I see no reason that we should claim that a person is making a false statement without clear sources that the statement is wildly believed to be false. The same goes for those involved with the investigation regarding them trying to downplay the source of a wildfire. At this point, I see no reason to go further in discussing why this should not be added to this article nor any other part of the wiki. --Super Goku V (talk) 05:44, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Jesus Fabian Gonzalez wine country arson arrest[edit]

The Jesus Fabian Gonzalez has been created and there is a considerable effort to censor any mention of what appears to be a deliberate arson attack and immigration debate in the same area and timeframe as the larger fires that killed 41, and generated a lot of media including New York Times and Los Angeles Times and speculation that despite reluctance of authorities and media to tie him to the larger fires, that possibility has not been completely ruled out. This article currently makes no mention of any arson theories or arrests which is a curious ommission suggesting a political agenda similar to efforts to remove or minimize actual terrorist attacks. Bachcell (talk) 01:13, 24 December 2017 (UTC)