2017: The Year of California Wildfire
According to data collected by The Washington Post, California experienced 9,000 wildfires and millions of burned acres in 2017. The fires destroyed nearly 11,000 structures and killed 46 people. The Thomas Fire in Southern California – now considered the largest fire in the state’s history – has still not been fully contained.
California spent 2017 emerging from a long drought, allowing new underbrush to grow during a wet winter that put much needed water back into reservoirs around the state. When the summer turned dry, this new brush turned into fuel for fires. Heavy winds during wildfires drove small/medium containable fire situations into uncontrollable dangerous fire storms. The role of companies such as PG&E, and their equipment including reclosers, is still being investigated.
Here are the five top wildfires in 2017, by total structures burned:
The largest fire, the Thomas Fire, remains uncontained and is approaching 300,000 in acres burned. This is more than the 180,000 acres burned from the Northern California Tubbs, Nuns, Thomas and Redwood Valley fires combined. Unfortunately, the Northern CA wildfires frequently ran through civilian occupied areas, destroying a collective 8,000 structures. Hard hit areas include Santa Rosa communities such as Coffey Park.