California Wildfires Have Burned Over 2 Million Acres This Year, 25 Fires Still Active

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2020 AS OF 2:00 PM EDT

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), wildfires have burned approximately 2.2 million acres this year, accounting for eight fatalities and over 3,300 damaged or destroyed structures. There are currently 25 active wildfires burning in California, with roughly 14,100 firefighters working on the frontlines across California to contain them. California will remain under a Red Flag warning today into tomorrow. 

The SCU Lightning Complex remains the largest active incident in the state of California; consuming 396,624 acres with 94 percent containment as of yesterday. CAL FIRE also listed the LNU Lightning Complex as the second-largest active incident; burning 375,209 acres with 91 percent containment as of 7:03 am Pacific Daily Time (PDT) this morning.

The Creek Fire in the Sierra National Forest, near Fresno, is the most recent active incident in the state. As of yesterday, it has consumed 78,790 acres and with 0 percent containment. CNN reported over 200 people were airlifted from the forest over the weekend due to the inferno. The fire has proven challenging to combat due to the remote terrain and hillside, and evacuations proved challenging due to the weather and smoke. Fresno County fire officials said dozens of people were still unable to leave the forest by themselves since the fire had blocked the avenues out, and people (including hikers and campers) were taking refuge in four areas.

UnSplash: Marcus Kauffman

The Creek Fire blaze has forced evacuations in Fresno and Madera County, and United States (US) Forest Service Supervisor Dean Gould said the fire was an “unprecedented disaster” for Fresno County, as the conflagration was the “most aggressive” of any major wildfires that occurred in the area before. According to CNN, the wildfire has been responsible for extensive structural damage, and the intensity of the fire has prevented inspection teams from surveying exactly how many structures have been destroyed.

A number of areas of the state are under a Red Flag Warning for low humidity, and strong winds with gusts. A fire weather watch for critical fire weather was issued from CAL FIRE from the Inland empire into San Diego.

UnSplash: Luke Flynt

As seen with the recent burning across California, wildfires can ignite unexpectedly and burn quickly. It’s important to heed the warning of state and local authorities. Individuals in fire-prone areas should consider signing up for community alerts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends building an emergency supply kit or “GoKit” using this ready.gov suggested Emergency Supply List ahead of a potential fire. Additionally, with regard to COVID-19, consider including hand sanitizer and face masks in your GoKit. 

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation, visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

FEMA on Wildfire Preparedness: Source

EVACUATIONS AND EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has declared a State of Emergency amid the scale and magnitude of fires that are burning throughout California.

Here’s the breakdown of public advisories from NOAA’s NWS in decreasing order of severity:

HIGH WIND WARNING:

  • San Bernardino County-Upper Colorado River Valley

WIND ADVISORY:

  • Cadiz Basin
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Eastern Mojave Desert, Including the Mojave National Preserve
  • Morongo Basin
  • Owens Valley
  • Western Mojave Desert
  • San Bernardino County-Upper Colorado River Valley
  • North Bay Mountains

RED FLAG WARNING: 

  • Central Sierra
  • Central Sierra Foothills
  • Fort Tejon
  • Lake Isabella
  • North Kings River
  • Sequoia Kings
  • Southern Sierra Foothills
  • Tehachapi Area
  • Modoc County Except for the Surprise Valley
  • Siskiyou County from the Cascade Mountains East and South to Mt Shasta
  • Central Siskiyou County Including Shasta Valley
  • Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Siskiyou County
  • Western Klamath National Forest
  • East Bay Hills and the Diablo Range
  • North Bay Mountains
  • Santa Cruz Mountains
  • Orange County Inland
  • Riverside County Mountains-Including The San Jacinto Ranger District Of The San Bernardino National Forest
  • San Bernardino County Mountains-Including The Mountain Top And Front Country Ranger Districts Of The San Bernardino National Forest
  • San Bernardino and Riverside County Valleys – The Inland Empire; San Diego County Inland Valleys
  • San Diego County Mountains-Including The Palomar And Descanso Ranger Districts of the Cleveland National Forest
  • San Gorgonio Pass Near Banning
  • Santa Ana Mountains-Including The Trabuco Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest
  • Victor Valley – Apple Valley – Lucerne Valley – Johnson Valley

AIR QUALITY ALERT:

  • Kern
  • Ventura County Coast
  • Ventura County Coastal Valleys
  • Ventura County Interior Valleys
  • Ventura County Mountains
  • Fresno
  • Kings
  • Madera
  • Merced
  • San Joaquin
  • Stanislaus
  • Tulare
  • Mariposa
  • Tuolumne

RELATED STORIES

  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map.
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for Wildfires: link

California Wildfires Continue to Burn Across the State, with Seven Fatalities to Date

There are currently 23 active wildfires burning across California. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), there are seven total wildfire-related fatalities, and approximately 1.6 million acres burned. The LNU Lightning Complex that started on August 17 is still the largest active incident in the state, with 368,868 acres to date and 33 percent containment. The SCU Lightning Complex in Walnut Creek is the second-largest blaze, having burnt 368,671 acres and 35 percent containment. The CZU Lightning Complex is currently the third-largest active blaze, which has burned 81,137 acres of land.The San Francisco Chronicle announced two civilian men were reported missing in Santa Cruz County as fire crews continue to respond to the CZU Lightning Complex fire. 

Twitter: Office of the Governor of California 

Cal Fire reported progress in containing dozens of the major fires. In the California Statewide Fire Summary on Wednesday, August 26, Cal Fire reported that “favorable” weather conditions have helped firefighters contain the burn. A strong marine layer brought lower temperatures to fire prone/impacted areas, raising relative humidity. Firefighters throughout the state have received assistance from the military and other state responders, including 911 fire engines. The California Statewide Fire Summary cautioned that warmer weather conditions are projected going into the weekend, with isolated thunderstorms possible in northern California and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. This changing climate is expected to make firefighting conditions more challenging.

Twitter: NOAA Research 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Weather Service (NWS) issued Red Flag Warnings for Idaho, Utah, and Montana. The NWS additionally issued Air Quality Alerts for 10 counties, including Merced and Fresno, due to the surrounding wildfires. 

Twitter: CAL FIRE

Cal Fire encourages individuals to prepare and plan for wildfires. These events can develop quickly. It is never too soon to prepare for a wildfire event. Individuals should follow the guidance of local authorities and remain safe as many fires remain largely uncontained. Cal Fire encourages individuals to prepare a Go Bag prior to being under a red flag warning. It is important to be able to mobilize and evacuate quickly. The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation, visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

EVACUATIONS AND EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has declared a State of Emergency amid the scale and magnitude of fires that are burning throughout California.

Here’s the breakdown of public advisories from NOAA’s NWS in decreasing order of severity:

AIR QUALITY ALERT:

  • Fresno
  • Kern
  • Kings
  • Madera
  • Mariposa
  • Merced
  • San Joaquin
  • Stanislaus
  • Tulare
  • Tuolumne

RELATED STORIES

  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map.
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for Wildfires: link

Dozens of Wildfires Spread Across California, Putting Strain on Resources and Forcing Evacuations Across the State

THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2020 AS OF 8:00 AM PST

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) issued a red flag warning for the critical active and contained fires that  have spread throughout Northern California; the fires have resulted in thousands of evacuations and structures burned. 

There are currently 32 active fires burning across California, of which only three fires are more than 50 percent contained. According to the California Government’s Cal Fire webpage, the largest area affected is the LNU Lightning Complex, which is impacting 124,000 acres across Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo, and Solano Counties. Also impacting Northern California communities, the SCU Lightning Complex fire is the largest, taking up multiple locations across Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Joaquin County, and Stanislaus County. The fire has been active for a day and more than 102,000 acres have burned. It is presently only 5 percent contained. The Apple fire in Riverside County, California, is one of the earliest active fires of the season, igniting on July 31, with Cal Fire reporting that it’s 95 percent contained after burning 33,424 acres. 

Cal Fire has noted 204,481 acres and 181 structures have been burned in total across the state. The intensity and speed of the flames have made it difficult for the thousands of firefighting personnel working to contain the different blazes, and NPR reported that the first casualty was a helicopter pilot on a water dropping mission on the Hills Fire in western Fresno County, California. 

To date, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved four Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs) for the LNU Lightning Fire Complex, the Jones Fire, the River Fire, and the Apple Fire. These grants are designed to mitigate the immediate threats to life, property, and safety by providing expeditious federal assistance to the State of California. This grant funding can support expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials, and supplies; and firefighting mobilization and demobilization activities.

UnSplash: Levan Badzgaradze

The New York Times noted there have been thousands more fires in 2020 than in the previous year; there have been 6,754 fires in California this year, compared with approximately 4,000 in 2019. On Wednesday August 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency to provide more resources to fight the hundreds of wildfires brought on by heat and sustained high winds. According to the emergency proclamation, the fires in California have put pressure on the state’s mutual aid system, which has made it challenging for different jurisdictions to receive the resources necessary to combat the different blazes. Newsom mobilized the California National Guard to help with relief, and the governors of Texas and Arizona have provided resources to support response in California, according to The New York Times

NWS Lubbock:Twitter 

Evacuations have been taking place across the state. The Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, which employs over 14,000 personnel, issued mandatory evacuation for all “non-mission essential personnel.” Additionally, CNN reports emergency evacuation orders have been issued for Vacaville, California, as well as counties across Northern California that include Sonoma, Lake, and Napa County. 

Tweet: Ready.gov

Ready.gov encourages individuals to prepare and plan for wildfires. These events can develop quickly. It’s never too soon to prepare for a wildfire event. Individuals should follow the guidance of local authorities and remain safe as most of the fires are largely uncontained. The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation, visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

 

EVACUATIONS AND EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has declared a State of Emergency amid the scale and magnitude of fires that are burning throughout California.

Here’s the breakdown of public advisories from NOAA’s NWS in decreasing order of severity:

RED FLAG WARNINGS:

  • Lake County Portion of Lake-Napa-Sonoma Unit
  • Burney Basin and Northeast Plateau in Shasta County Including Northwest Lassen NF north of Lassen NP
  • Central Sacramento Valley including Glenn, Colusa, Yuba, Northern Sutter, Butte County Below 1000 Ft
  • Eastern Delta
  • Eastern Mendocino NF
  • Eastern Portion of Shasta, Trinity NF
  • Northern Motherlode From 1000 to 3000 Ft. From Yuba To Amador Counties
  • Northern Sacramento Valley to Southern Tehama County Line Below 1000 Ft
  • Northern San Joaquin Valley in San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties Below 1000 ft – Excludes the Delta
  • Northern Sierra Foothills from 1000 to 3000 Ft. Includes Nevada-Yuba-Placer RU and Anador-Eldorado RU
  • Northern Sierra Including Lassen NP and Plumas and Lassen NF, S West of the Sierra Crest – West of Evans Peak, Grizzly Peak, Beckworth Peak
  • Southeast Edge Shasta, Trinity NF and Western Portions of Tehama, Glenn RU
  • Southern Sacramento Valley In Yolo, Sacramento, Far Western Placer, Southern Sutter and Solano County Below 1000 Ft – Excludes the Delta; Tahoe – Eldorado National Forest

Air Quality Alert:

  • Fresno
  • Kern
  • Kings
  • Madera
  • Merced
  • San Joaquin
  • Stanislaus
  • Tulare
  •  Ventura County Interior Valleys
  • San Luis Obispo County Central Coast
  • San Luis Obispo County Interior Valleys
  • San Luis Obispo County Mountains

RELATED STORIES

  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires:California Wildfires Map.
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for Wildfires: link