20 largest wildfires in California history by acreage
The 2021 fire season in California has already included four blazes that ranked in the top 20 largest wildfires on record in the state by acreage.
Those blazes — the Dixie, Caldor and Monument fires and the River Complex — are all active wildfires, and their sizes could change as the season continues.
The gallery below highlights the 20 biggest fires the state has seen, according to Cal Fire. All information in the gallery about fire size, cause, location, deaths and damage comes from Cal Fire records.
The oldest fire on the list, the Matilija fire in Ventura County, occured in 1932. Cal Fire cautions that the list does not include records predating that year.
“There is no doubt that there were fires with significant acreage burned in years prior to 1932, but those records are less reliable, and this list is meant to give an overview of the large fires in more recent times,” the agency said.
While none of the wildfires that tore through the North Bay in October 2017 are among the 20 largest in state history, two of them appear on Cal Fire’s list of the state’s most destructive fires. The Tubbs fire, which burned 36,807 acres in Napa and Sonoma counties, destroyed 5,636 structures and caused 22 deaths, making it No. 2 on the list of most destructive. The Nuns fire in Sonoma County ranked No. 13. It burned 54,382 acres, destroyed 1,355 structures and caused three deaths.
The 2018 Camp fire in Butte County was the deadliest and most destructive fire in California’s history, although it does not rank among the 20 largest. The blaze was started by power lines in November 2018. It burned 153,336 acres, destroyed 18,804 structures and killed 85 people.
– By Press Democrat Staff