Catastrophic Year for California Wildfires

The 2018 California wildfire season has been one of the most destructive on record in the state of California. During 2018, a total of 7,579 fires had burned an area of 1,667,855 acres (6,749.57 km2), the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in a California fire season, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Interagency Fire Center, as of November 11. The fires caused over $2.975 billion (2018 USD) in damages, including $1.366 billion in fire suppression costs. Through the end of August 2018, Cal Fire alone spent $432 million on operations. The Mendocino Complex Fire burned more than 459,000 acres (1,860 km2), becoming the largest complex fire in the state’s history, with the complex’s Ranch Fire surpassing the Thomas Fire and the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 to become California’s single-largest recorded wildfire.

In mid-July to August 2018, a series of large wildfires erupted across California, mostly in the northern part of the state, including the destructive Carr Fire and the Mendocino Complex Fire. On August 4, 2018, a national disaster was declared in Northern California, due to the massive wildfires burning there. In November 2018, foehn winds caused another round of large, destructive fires to erupt across the state. This new batch of wildfires included the Camp Fire, which destroyed more than 6,700 structures and became California’s most destructive wildfire on record.

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