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California’s 7 Largest Wildfires Were All In The Last 3 Years

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Image: Forest Service Photography via Flickr

We regret to inform you that northern California’s still-raging Dixie Fire is now the second largest wildfire in California history, according to NPR. Nearly half a million acres have burned in this wildfire alone, and the best ways to help or chip in to these affected communities is by giving to Dixie Fire- Rebuild Greenville, CA.

But there is a far more troubling larger pattern here. According to data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, data that goes back as far as the 1930s, the seven largest wildfires in California history have all been from the last three years.

As seen above, the Dixie Fire is the second-largest in state history. But five of the seven largest took place in 2020, many of which happened simultaneously, creating last September’s orange sky effect. They are already seeing orange skies again this year in Lassen County and Plumas County, so we’ll probably get ours again here in the Bay Area, and that’s likely to become a terrifying annual thing.

You’ve probably heard that the rest of the country is getting our smoke too, though these days, that smoke may also be from wildfires in Oregon and Washington too.

We should note that we’re talking the largest wildfires by acre, these large wildfires of the last three years were not necessarily the deadliest in state history. That distinction goes to the Camp Fire of 2018, which does not make the top 20 in terms of acres burned, but did kill 85 people. The deadliest ever California wildfires are listed below, and they’re more evenly distributed over time as you would expect. 

But drought conditions and the existence of PG&E are making these fires larger, by size, over the last three years than ever before. And we still have the rest of August, plus September and October to go.

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.