California has experienced six of its most destructive wildfires in just 10 months. The fires have charred more than 10,000 structures and claimed dozens of lives. The Carr Fire near Redding has joined five other large fires since Oct. 2017 on the state’s 20 most destructive wildfires list. As of Friday night, the Carr Fire had destroyed over 1,500 structures and killed six people, ranking as the sixth most destructive wildfire.
Last December’s Thomas Fire and four wildfires from October 2017 – Tubbs, Nuns, Atlas and Redwood Valley – are also on the top 20 list.
These six wildfires have destroyed 10,966 structures and killed 48 people. The Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County last October is the worst of them all, accounting for 5,636 of the destroyed structures and 22 deaths.
California is prone to wildfire activity from summer into fall since vegetation is dry. Little rain falls in much of the state during the so-called dry season from late spring through summer.
October’s intense wildfires were fed by the Golden State’s second-wettest winter (Dec. 2016-Feb. 2017) and then its hottest summer (June 2017-Aug. 2017). The vegetation that grew in response to the wet winter quickly dried out months later and provided fuel for wind-driven wildfires to burn in the fall.
This summer’s wildfires come on the heels of California’s second-driest winter (Dec. 2017-Feb. 2018) and persistent warmer-than-average temperatures.
Many cities in California are experienced one of their hottest Julys on record. Redding had its third hottest July on record.
Because of this, vegetation moisture is at record or near-record lows for late July in parts of the state, according to Dr. Daniel Swain, a UCLA climate scientist.
The combination of dry vegetation, hot temperatures and gusty winds make explosive wildfire growth like with the Carr Fire more likely to occur. And please let me add geoengineering.