Explore the elements of one of nature’s most destructive forces.
USA Press Today
With dozens dead and entire neighborhoods swallowed by flames, most of the lethal wildfires in California continue to rage uncontained.
In fact, if the blazes are counted as one “firestorm,” the several fires that have scorched the state this week are entering record territory. “We’ve had big fires in the past,” Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown said. “This is one of the biggest.”
Deaths: At least 28, including 15 in the Tubbs Fire. The 28 deaths this week makes this the second-deadliest week for California wildfires on record. The 15 dead in the Tubbs Fire alone makes that the third-deadliest in state history.
The deadliest single fire in California history was the Griffith Park Fire in 1933, which killed 29 people. Now in third place is the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, in which 25 people perished.
This is a particularly lethal time of year for California fires: All of the top four deadliest wildfire weeks in state history have been in October.
More: Napa fires make San Francisco air worse than Beijing, causing a run on masks
More: House by house, firefighters confront deadly California blazes
More: California’s marijuana farmers fear crops could go up in smoke
Structures destroyed: At least 3,500. Again, if all the fires are added together, this is likely among the most destructive weeks for wildfires in state history. In October 2003, in the San Diego area firestorm, some 3,700 structures were destroyed. In the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, 2,900 structures were destroyed.
The 1,000 structures destroyed in the Tubbs Fire alone make that blaze the fifth-most-destructive in California history.
Acres burned: More than 191,000 acres, so far. Once the fires are finished, this could place this group of blazes on the top 10 list of most acres burned in any single week in state history. The area burned is equivalent to more than 13 Manhattans.
In 2008, 1.2 million acres burned in dozens of fires over several weeks in the summer.
The single largest fire in state history was the Cedar Fire in San Diego County in October 2003. In that fire, more than 273,000 acres burned.
Note: Data in this report came from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).
More: California fires produced as much pollution in 2 days as all the state’s cars do in a year
More: California wildfires are visible from space using nighttime imaging
More: California wildfires: ‘We’ll figure it out,’ mother says amid ruins
More: What fueled California’s lethal wildfires that seemed to come out of nowhere?
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2ygJxhI