The deadly and devastating fires in California are finally under control, but they have left a massive swath of devastation and tragedy in their wake. This year was one of the absolute worst for Californians, with record-breaking fires raging through areas like Mendocino, Paradise, and Thousand Oaks during almost every month of the year.
California’s 2018 fires broke records – some of which were set by fires taking place almost a century ago. The numbers are shocking enough in passing, but seeing them all laid out in a single post? It’s hard to swallow – and incredibly important to be aware of.
After doing a little bit of digging, here’s what we discovered.
• The four most devastating fires this year were the Paradise’s “Camp Fire,” (113,000 acres), Woolsey’s fire, (91,572 acres), Hill’s fire in Ventura County, (4,531 acres), and the Nurse fire in Solano County (1,500 acres). Together, they created the worst fire situation in California in over a century.
• Certain areas, including Paradise, were completely devastated. News reporters and locals described the former town as, “just gone.” In other areas, the damage is so extensive it isn’t clear whether or not it will recover in the next 50 years.
• Around 7,072 structures burned in 2018’s fires alone. This includes houses, businesses, livestock barns, tourist areas, and several multi-million dollar homes in the hills. This is the most structures damaged or destroyed by fire since 2017.
• According to meteorologist Steve Bowen,“Seven of the top 20 most destructive fires in the state have occurred since October 2017.” The recent Camp Fire was by far the most dangerous, causing the most damage.
• Camp Fire is also the deadliest fire in almost 100 years. Officials confirmed at least 29 deaths; another 200 people remained unaccounted for as of November 11, 2018. By November 24, 249 were unaccounted for and another 84 were marked deceased.
• Much of the danger to Californians has passed, but firefighters and responders continue to put boots on the ground. Hotspots and minor flares could potentially reignite the fire at any time; preventative action is critical.