When it comes to California, every season is fire season. It seems that every year, a new wildfire breaks out that draws the attention of news media and worried onlookers. The most recent fire, the Lake Fire, has devoured over 30,000 acres. As daunting as that sounds, this doesn’t even put the Lake Fire on Cal Fire’s top ten list. As frightening as some of these fire stories can be, it can always be much worse. Here are brief looks at the top three biggest fires in recent California history.
The Cedar Fire that engulfed San Diego County was not only a notorious fire by itself, but it was also one of 15 different wildfires that occurred within the single month of October 2003. The Cedar Fire holds the top spot on Cal Fire’s list at over 273,000 acres burned, 2,820 structures lost, and 15 deaths. The fire was manmade and caused by a lost hunter attempting to light a signal fire in hopes of being rescued. The 2003 firestorm led to a variety of structural changes at state, local, and federal levels with how fires were fought.
The Rush Fire erupted in Northeastern California from a lightning strike in August 2012. While it’s placed second on Cal Fire’s list at around 271,000 acres burned, this acreage doesn’t account for the rough 43,000 acres that burned in Nevada. Unlike the Cedar fire, the damage was mostly to unhabituated wilderness area resulting in no structure loss or deaths.
Started by an illegal campfire in the Stanislaus National Forest, the Rim fire went on to burn over 257,000 acres of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in August 2013. The acreage is considerably less than the Rush fire, but the Rim fire was closer to population centers. This resulted in the loss of 112 structures, but thankfully no loss of life. The fire was not technically declared “out” until over a year later in November 2014.
Burning For You
Wildfires and the risk of fire damage are a part of everyday reality in California. It’s vital to keep the following suggestions in mind to ensure that you and your family areprepared should the unthinkable happen:
- Make sure every room in your home has a fire alarm with fresh batteries
- Make sure that your property has a fire extinguisher on hand
- Keep your yard clear of dry brush
- Make evacuation plan with your family
- Ensure that your home is covered for wildfires by your insurance.
- Verify the reporting procedure for your insurance company.
- Let a fire restoration service handle the rest.
You probably won’t prevent the next big wildfire, but you can keep you and your family ready for the worst. By taking these relatively simple measures and following them through, you can make sure that you, your family, and your property are given the best protection against wildfire and fire damage as possible.