About 11,000 firefighters are battling 13 active wildfires in California.
CALIFORNIA — The wildfire season has yet to begin officially in the southern half of the Golden State, but already more than 6,500 brush fires have scorched 1.3 million acres across California.
This week, 11,000 firefighters were scattered across the state battling wildfires that have already destroyed more than a thousand homes and forced entire towns to evacuate.
The Dixie fire, the second-largest fire in California’s history, has burned for more than a month, and it devoured another 43,000 acres since Wednesday. It’s scorched 678,369 acres and was only 35 percent contained on Thursday.
Northern California has born the brunt of the devastating wildfires. But Santa Ana winds are returning to parched Southern California as fall approaches. Fire officials warned that conditions are prime for catastrophic wildfires much like those the northern part of the state has endured.
To help Californians keep safe and keep tabs on where fires are burning, the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation created an interactive map showing all active fires.
Cal Fire Currently Monitors 13 Fires Of Interest
Glen Fire: Yuba County, Northwest Of Dobbins
- 184 acres, 90 percent contained.
- 10 structures destroyed.
- All evacuations lifted.
- Full containment expected Aug. 18.
Dixie Fire: Butte, Plumas, Lassen And Tehama Counties, Feather River Canyon
- 635,728 acres, 33 percent contained.
- Nearly 16,000 structures threatened.
- 1,208 structures destroyed (14th most destructive wildfire).
- Unified Command of Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service.
Caldor Fire, El Dorado County, South Of Grizzly Flats
- 53,772 acres, 0 percent contained.
- Evacuations in progress.
- Nearly 5,900 structures threatened.
- Damage assessment underway.
French Fire, Kern County, 5 miles west of Lake Isabella – Sequoia National Forest
- 1,890 acres, 10 percent contained.
McFarland Fire: Shasta County, Eight Miles West Of Platina, Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- 107,102 acres.
- 51 percent contained.
Monument Fire: Trinity County, Five Miles West Of Big Bar, Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- 128,613 acres.
- 10 percent contained.
Antelope Fire: Siskiyou County, Five Miles South Of Tennant, Klamath National Forest
- 59,127 acres.
- 27 percent contained.
River Complex: Siskiyou County, Seven Miles West Of Callahan, Klamath National Forest
- 48,214 acres.
- 10 percent contained.
McCash Fire: Siskiyou County, Ten Bear Mountain McCash Creek, Six Rivers National Forest
- 3,233 acres.
- 1 percent contained.
Walkers Fire: Tulare County, 16 miles Northeast Of Springville, Sequoia National Forest
- 1,400 acres.
- 0 percent contained.
Lava Fire: Siskiyou County, Northeast Of Weed, Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- 26,409 acres.
- 85 percent contained.
- Two structures damaged.
- 23 structures destroyed.
Beckwourth Complex: Lassen/Plumas Counties, Northeast Of Beckwourth, Plumas National Forest
- 105,670 acres.
- 98 percent contained.
- 23 structures damaged.
- 148 structures destroyed.
Tamarack Fire: Alpine County, South Of Gardnerville, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
- 68,637 acres.
- 82 percent contained.
Extended Attack Incidents
Bell Fire: Mendocino County, Five Miles East Of Leggett
- 50 acres.
- 80 percent contained.
Cache Fire: Lake County, Clearlake
- 75 acres.
- 40 percent contained.
Historic drought and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires more difficult to quell on the West Coast. Rising temperatures have made the American West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive, scientists have said.
The explosive pace of new wildfires has been relentless in 2021.
“Today, the weather will continue to test firefighters, as well as increase the risk of new wildfires,” Cal Fire warned Thursday. “Yesterday firefighters responded to 29 new wildfires, of which all but two were quickly contained. Since January 1, there have been 6,603 wildfires that have burned nearly 1.4 million acres. ”
The Dixie fire is the Golden State’s largest wildfire so far this year, burning 678,369 acres and showing no sign of abating. This week, it reached Susanville, prompting thousands to flee their homes. The blaze exploded overnight into Thursday.
“Very low fuel moistures and terrain-driven winds also contributed to continued overnight fire growth,” Cal Fire reported.
Dan Newton, the interim city administrator of Susanville, lives just west of the city line and was ordered to evacuate because of the Dixie fire on Monday. He is now staying with a friend in town while his wife and two adult children stay in Chico.
“A lot of folks have been evacuated from Susanville and surrounding areas. I’m definitely — I’m just one of many,” Newton told the Los Angeles Times. “Unfortunately, we’re somewhat becoming used to this. We had to do this last year as well. … We are all kind of taking turns with the imminent danger. It’s hit, obviously, a lot of communities already.”
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. equipment may have ignited the Dixie fire, according to a report released by the utility last month.
Last month, a repair man reportedly spotted what he suspected to be a blown fuse while he was responding to an outage in Feather River Canyon off Highway 70 in Oroville. Because of rough terrain and roadwork, the worker could not reach the pole for several hours, the utility said. By the time he reached the area, two or three blown fuses may have sparked a fire at the base of a healthy green tree leaning on the pole that held the conductor.
The combination of worsening drought, rising temperatures and arid fuels point to another devastating wildfire season, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned in May.
“You’re already feeling the temperature shifts,” he told reporters. “You already saw those red flag warnings, which are earlier in May than we’ve seen in many, many years because of the winds that are coming earlier. ”
Californians last year were hard-pressed to find refuge between an intensifying coronavirus pandemic and a hellscape of wildfires that hampered air quality all over the state.
A historic 4,257,863 acres of California burned last year in the state’s largest fire season in modern history. As fire season was already in full swing last year, more than 12,000 lightning strikes hammered the state, igniting massive fires. The state also experienced its first “gigafire” in 2020: a burn area that exceeded 1 million acres.
This year, the state is falling deeper into drought, which means that firefighters could find themselves facing fires in thousands of miles of dry brush, grass and trees across the state, all ripe for a wildfire season amplified by warming, dry temperatures and high winds.
Source: Los Angeles Patch