Top 3 Largest Fires in California History

Isha Raj, Journalist

It is no secret that California has tons of wildfires. There have been 7,982 fires and 3,627,010 acres have been burnt, this year alone!  This year the fires have been record breaking, and big. Six of California’s largest wildfires have been ignited this year alone. So what are the largest fires?

The third largest wildfire California has ever witnessed is the SCU Lightning Complex fire. This fire was just contained on October 1st. The fire started on August 18 and it was spreading for almost 2 months. The fire itself burned over 396,620 acres. Fortunately, no one was killed, but 5 people were injured.In total 26 buildings were damaged, and 222 buildings were destroyed. The fire in total took up 5 counties. These were Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Joaquin County, Merced and Stanislaus County.

The second largest fire California has ever witnessed is the Mendocino Complex Fire. This fire was back in 2018.  The fire started on July 7, 2018, and was contained on January 4, 2019. So in total the fire lasted about 160 days. The cause is still unknown, and is still under investigation. It burned 410,203 acres of land, and it took up 4 counties in total. These were Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, and Glenn counties. In total, 3 people got injured and one person sadly passed away. 246 buildings were destroyed by this huge fire. At the time it was the largest fire, but less than 2 years later it has been surpassed. 

The August Complex Fire is the largest fire in California history. This fire has almost burned 1 million acres of land, and as of October 1st it has burned 955,513 acres. It has yet to be contained fully, but as of now it is about 50% contained. So far 5 structures have been damaged, and 51 have been destroyed. Eight counties have been asked to evacuate, but as of right now, 7 counties have been affected. These 7 counties are Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, Tehama, Glenn, Lake, & Colusa. The cause of this large fire has been reported as lightning. The only death that has been confirmed is that of a firefighter.

There have been many fires in California. This year has been no different, with two record breaking fires. With the third largest fire being SCU Lightning Complex, which just got contained. The second largest being Mendocino Complex, which was started 2018 and ended in 2019. And lastly the August Complex, the largest fire in California history as of 2020. The august Complex is still burning land, and is most likely going to hit 1 million burnt acres.