A Record 2 Million Acres Destroyed in California Fires

Mish

The worst fire season in history is underway in California.

Not Even Peak Wildfire Season Yet

It's not even the peak of the wildfire season in California but a Record-Breaking 2 Million Acres have Burned Already.

There have been "900 wildfires since August 15 but the heart of the fire season has not even started yet."

Santa-Ana Winds

Santa Anna Winds

The peak starts when the seasonal Santa-Ana Winds begin. 

The Santa Ana winds are strong, extremely dry downslope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California. They originate from cool, dry high-pressure air masses in the Great Basin.  Santa Ana winds are known for the hot, dry weather that they bring in autumn (often the hottest of the year), but they can also arise at other times of the year.

They often bring the lowest relative humidities of the year to coastal Southern California. These low humidities, combined with the warm, compressionally-heated air mass, plus high wind speeds, create critical fire weather conditions. Also sometimes called "devil winds", the Santa Anas are infamous for fanning regional wildfires.

Santa-Ana Winds LA Times

The LA Times explains What makes the Santa Ana winds blow through Southern California?

Santa-Ana Winds Started Today

A Red Flag Fire Weather Warning issued for San Diego County due to Santa Ana winds

“Strong north to northeast winds will begin first in San Bernardino and Orange counties, then spread southward this afternoon and into San Diego County late this afternoon and tonight,” the weather service says in an advisory.

Forecasters say the winds will blow 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph to 55 mph in the windiest locations.

The winds could make it harder for fire fighters to continue to fight the huge Valley fire near Alpine.

Wildfire Map

Comparison to August 23

On August 23, I totaled up the acres burnt and matched the reported totals.

For details, please see Tweets of the Day: Over 1 Million Acres in California are On Fire

Using the current BLM map, I did so again.

Federal Responsibility

California Federal Fire Responsibility 2020-09-08

State and Local Responsibility

California State and Local Responsibility 2020-09-08

Notes

  1. Fires marked with a "*" are new since my previous spreadsheet on August 18. 
  2. Fires marked with an "-" no longer appear on the report. 
  3. On fires marked with an "-" I assume 100% containment at the number of acres I showed previously. 
  4. I may have missed fires started and put out in the interim.
  5. Points 3 and 4 lead to an huge undercount in acres burnt in my totals.

Southern Utah Report

Yesterday Afternoon the air in Southern Utah was so smoky from the fires that we could look straight at the sun in midday even though there were no clouds. 

The sun looked pink, mid-day, through the smoke. Today it is much colder and breezy. 

Temperatures dropped from 106 degrees yesterday to about 70 degrees now with the wind shift.

The cooler weather and less smoke suits us here, but the breeze will make matters much worse for those in California.

Best wishes to all impacted by these devastating fires.

Mish 

Comments (50)
fibsurfer
fibsurfer

Ask any surfer in California when are the winds offshore. Same time every year. Better land management and better infastructure or you could just create a fire tax. Greed burns all

Zardoz
Zardoz

The world is dying around us. Glad I got to see it.

IA Hawkeye in SoCal
IA Hawkeye in SoCal

I live 20 miles west of the El Dorado fire, average city, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that these events don't affect most Californians. I still woke up, put my pants on one leg at a time, and came to work. Same goes for most of us. If you live in the foothills or mountains of California, you know the risk. Hopefully the edge and downtown area of Yucaipa is ok, they have great annual spring, fall and Christmas festivals. (Normally)

Jojo
Jojo

CA has 104.765 million acres of land. So we still have 102.765 million acres NOT burned. Perspective is everything.

Carl_R
Carl_R

Washington has a pretty fast burning fire in the area of Omak that just started Sunday night, and in 36 hours, it has burn 314,000 acres, including an additional 114,000 acres in the last 6 hours or so.

Carl_R
Carl_R

California now showing some areas with very hazardous air quality. Chester, Plumas reads 834, and Kings, California reads 816. Anything over 300 is hazardous.

pvguy
pvguy

Malden WA (West of Rosalia) is no more. The fire near Omak jumped the Columbia River and burned down to US 2. Yesterday was an interesting day. I've spent this morning vacuuming, mopping and washing ashes and dust out of the house. I'm 30 miles south of US 2.

ColoradoAccountant
ColoradoAccountant

Snowing hard right now in Denver. Amazing, 100 yesterday, and below freezing tonight.

Greggg
Greggg

From Nevada County posted 3 hours ago:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tYMX5goAlg

Greggg
Greggg

Update from Nevada County 30 minutes ago.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzmZtP8yt_4

Realist
Realist

California’s governor asked for firefighters from Canada and Australia to come help fight the wildfires. In a previous comment last week I said that they would be crazy to send firefighters into the US, where the pandemic is raging out of control (will they quarantine on arrival in the US and again when they return home?).

Not to mention that Trump shits all over both countries, which are long time allies of the US.

Well, those crazy canucks are sending 60 firefighters to California! The US is lucky to have such a good neighbour. Haven’t heard anything from OZ yet.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

This is now as bad as the smoke has been in my area since the Paradise fire. Saturday the AQI was 50. Today it is 450 and rising. There was smoke on our 3rd floor office building in Placer county.

TimeToTest
TimeToTest

Why did you use a black lives matter map?

Greggg
Greggg

Another update from Nevada County: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0wywKMyXzA

Jojo
Jojo

As I said in a previous thread, if you want to live in a limited access, rural place that has a decent chance of burning to the ground at any point in time, it seems reasonable that you should have a fallout shelter/safe room built below ground that can store your important documents, valuables and memories, keeping them away from looters. Also potentially keeping you and and your family alive for at least a few days if necessary.

I wonder how many people have places like this? Has to be at least a few. But where would they get O2 from if the fire sweeps over them?

Sechel
Sechel

Yea, no such thing as global warming

digitalindia
digitalindia

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Herkie
Herkie

A fire started yesterday in Ashland Oregon and burned north in very hot dry winds and has now burned most of the cities of Talent including the apartment complex where I lived in 2015, and then further into Phoenix Oregon and up into Medford itself. Jackson County has 220,000 people most of whom live in the Medford area and all these towns touch each other or at most are a few miles apart. People were evacuated to the fairgrounds where no shelter is available but they are in open land that can be protected from flames, and food and water can be distributed, but within a few hours the site was full and traffic meant you could not get close to the site, so another fairgrounds in the the city of Grants Pass 35 miles away in Josephine County has been commandeered to send people to.

The forecast is for temps over 100 with gusty winds, the fire resources are overstretched and now going on 20 hours without rest. If this gets into the city of Medford proper you will see it on the evening news, already hundreds of houses and businesses have been destroyed.

This by the way is the city I just moved to Florida from in April.

IA Hawkeye in SoCal
IA Hawkeye in SoCal

There is a story on ABC 7 about Oklahoma offering cash to Bay Area residents to move there. The comments section (on facebook) is filed with people saying they love living in California so much, they would rather be homeless in their car in CA, than have a house in Oklahoma. I guess the draw of the worlds best food, weather and entertainment is strong.

awc13
awc13

that is pretty amazing. i think CA has about 101 million total acres

FromBrussels
FromBrussels

Makes me wonder, which is worse C19 or climate change, or is everything connected rather ?


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