California on pace for record setting wildfire season

2018 already ranks 6th in acres burned & deaths

New numbers from the National Interagency Fire Center show that 2018 could be one of California's worst ever for wildfires.

Already this year, nine wildfires have scorched 721,642 acres across the state. That's the sixth most in the last 20 years. The worst came in 2008 when fires burned 1,375,781 acres.

2018 has also been one of the deadliest, with 6 firefighters falling in the line of duty. The most recent came this week in the Mendocino Complex.

The fact that all this devastation has come before the "official" start of fire season means this year could be record-setting.

Typically, wildfires are most prominent in California in the late summer and fall. That's when Santa Ana winds can fan flames and send heat waves throughout the state. Brush is also at its driest in the fall and most susceptible to burns.

Here's a look at the NIFC's numbers on wildfire damage in California, by acreage and firefighter deaths, dating back to 2002:

Year Firefighter deaths Acres burned
2018 6 721,642
2017 7 1,266,224
2016 4 560,815
2015 4 893,362
2014 1 555,044
2013 2 577,675
2012 3 869,599
2011 0 126,854
2010 0 109,529
2009 4 405,585
2008 13 1,375,781
2007 2 1,087,110
2006 8 678,919
2005 1 202,754
2004 3 242,057
2003 4 793,402
2002 7 505,696

 

For a more detailed breakdown of the numbers, visit the National Interagency Fire Center website.

 

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