A Status Update on the California Wildfires

August 17, 2018 9:08 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

California continues to burn, with the wildfires raging across the state still doing significant damage. These are some of the worst wildfires in the history of the state, and the Mendocino fire now has the dubious distinction of being the largest fire in recorded history.

More than 820,000 acres have burned through the fires. Fortunately, the blaze is now 61 percent contained, and the Mendocino-Complex fire was 67 percent contained as of Saturday, August 11. Full containment of the fires is not estimated to occur until early September.

Unfortunately, these fires seem to be increasing in frequency in California since the year 2000.

Since 2000, the fires in California account for 10 percent of all land burned in the United States. The increase in fire occurrence in California is believed to be a result of multiple factors, primarily climate change. The fire season has lengthened as the climate has changed, and climate scientists continue to warn of the environmental dangers facing the United States and the world. Another primary factor is the housing sprawl in the state that continues to edge into fire-prone wilderness, and human activity poses a risk for greater fire frequency.

Even though there was heavy precipitation two years ago, the groundwater is still depleted, thanks in large part to human activity. That has made for some serious fire conditions in the state.

The 2018 fire season is projected to be one of the worst in California history, and that’s coming on the heels of 2017, in which the Thomas fire resulted in 283,800 acres burned in Ventura and Santa Barbara alone, causing previously unseen levels of death and destruction. The federal government spent more than $2.4 billion on firefighting last year.

The Mendocino-Complex fire

The Mendocino-Complex fire is the one getting most of the headlines. It has been mostly contained, but is still growing at a slower rate. It is considered to technically be two fires that branched out of the same origin place, those being the Ranch fire and the River fire.

The origin of the fire is believed to be along Highway CA-20 at MP 39, Old Lake County Highway, Blue Lake. That’s just eight miles northeast of Ukiah and Old River Road, and six miles north of Hopland. Combined, the two fires have covered more than 350,000 acres. About 62 percent of the Ranch fire is contained, and about 93 percent of the River fire is contained, with a date of full containment estimated for September 1.

Carr fire

The Carr fire is the deadliest fire yet in northern California, having claimed eight lives. As of August 11, the blaze was 61 percent contained. It is located in Shasta and Trinity counties, near Highway 2999 and Carr Powerhouse Road in Whiskeytown.

At County Appraisals Inc., our thoughts are with all those affected by the raging wildfires and with the brave firefighters who are working to keep the fires contained. As real estate appraisers in Napa County, CA, we will continue to monitor the situation throughout the state.

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