Fire in California

Fire in California is a common thing which almost happens every year. we should be prepared for the worst, here is a good article from the book called “Firescaping” by “Douclas Kent”, excerpt for our users below:

When it comes to fire,California is unlike any other state: It is the most flammable, the most dangerous, and its fire season lasts nearly eight months. Fires have been racing across our landscape for millions of years, and nothing has changed today. Each year, modern Californians can expect about 6,300 fires,which,based on averages taken between 1999 and 2003,will burn approximately 193,000 acres,1,530 structures, and will take five lives.

The state is this way due to a unique combination of climate, terrain, location and history. California is comfortably situated on the globe in a region close to the sea, in a moderate latitude, with a mountainous terrain-all of which create favorable conditions for fire. The reason it never rains on the Rose Parade also explains why our fire season is so long:A high-pressure system that lingers off the coast pushes storms up and away from the state. While natural forces determined the condition of fire in California for millions of years,people began to have an effect on fire in this region beginning about 12,000 years ago. At that time, the native people who settled the landscape quickly discovered that fire could be used as a tool, and they regularly set the land ablaze. The European adventurers and entrepreneurs who arrived about 500 years ago also learned to live with fire, building structures and compounds that allowed fires to burn around them. By the mid-1800s,however,Californians’attitude about fire changed: Fire was seen as a threat to their resources and land and they put their efforts into fighting it.

After more than 150 years, that outlook remains largely the same. As a result, California’s mature landscapes have been without fire for decades. We are also in the midst of a climatic warming trend. Hotter days and massive fuel loads is a dangerous mix and because of this, the intensity of future fires is expected to grow.

This chapter describes the condition of fire in California and how the Golden State has become the most flammable state in the country. It explains the factors that influence fire frequency and intensity, and it examines the many relationships that humans have had with fire, beginning with the native Californians and ending with the current residents. Finally, this chapter describes modern fire-management policy, which is gradually shifting in focus from prevention to protection. In the end, this confirms that adapting our communities to fire is smarter than trying to fight it.

California’s 10 Most Destructive Fires

1991:Oakland/Berkeley Tunnel Fire-25 lives and

2,900 structures lost

2003:San Diego Cedar Fire-14 lives and 2,820

structures lost

2003:San Bernardino-6 lives and 1,003

structures lost

1999:Shasta-1 life and 954 structures lost

1990:Santa Barbara-1 life and 641 structures lost

1992:Shasta-636 structures lost

1923:City of Berkeley-584 structures lost

1961:Los Angeles-484 structures lost

1993:Laguna Beach-441 structures lost

2003:San Diego-2 lives and 415 structures lost

Source:California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

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