PULGA – As the Dixie Fire roars on its 16th day, not only is it the largest fire currently in the state, but it is now officially the second largest fire to affect Butte County in its history.
On the evening of July 18, the fire was 18,702 acres, making it the 13th largest fire in the province’s history, just behind the 1951 Milk Ranch fire that burned 21,979 acres in the Feather River Canyon.
Retired firefighter Wayne Wilson said when he joined Cal Fire in 1973, the fire in Milk Ranch was still a topic of discussion by firefighters.
Since July 18, it has burned an average of 18,436 acres per day, meaning a Dixie Fire has since nearly repeated 11 days in a row on average.
It now stands at 221,504 acres, just behind the North Complex fires caused by lightning in 2019 that burned 318,935 acres.
Although the growth of 1 492 hectares yesterday seems small compared to the rapid growth rate that the fire has shown since 18 July, it is by no means small.
In fact, if yesterday’s growth in the fire was a stand-alone fire, it would be between a 1917 unnamed fire that burned 1,481 acres, and the 1996 Palermo fire that burned 1,515 acres.
And that would be smaller than the more famous 2000 Concow fire that burned 1,835 acres in September of that year, according to Appendix H of the 2019 Butte County Danger Mitigation Update, which contains the history of wildfires in the country. .
In fact, the Dixie fire is only the fourth fire in the province’s history to cover 100,000 acres.
The campfire burned 153,336 acres, destroying Paradise, Concow and parts of Magalia in Butte Creek Canyon. The fire killed 85 people and destroyed 14,000 structures, and it was only the second fire that broke the 100,000-hectare brand.
In August 1990, the Campbell Fire, which was used by equipment, broke out in Tehama County, burning down 131,504 acres and coming to Butte.
It started in Tehama County on August 13, 1990 and two retired firefighters Dave Pittman and Dave Quintel say it was above Forest Ranch in a place called Campbellville, although much of it was ‘down the gorge in Web Hollow’. The access was also through Cohasset. They said it lasted a week to ten days and the nearest fire station at the time was the California Department of Forestry and Fire Station 22 in Cohasset.
While the Dixie Fire is still under investigation, PG&E indicated that the equipment may have been involved. If it succeeds, it will be the 10th start in the country, according to the 2019 Butte County Dangerous Mitigation Update.
Of the top 20 fires in the province’s history, only two were caused by power lines – unfortunately, it happened to be the deadly campfire and the currently raging Dixie Fire.
Interestingly, a power line also started a Dixie fire in 2011 that burned 11 acres in the Feather River Canyon.
According to the document, the first eight fires broke out in Butte County with power lines burning a total of 16,743 acres. The largest was the 2017 Cherokee Fire which started on October 8, 2017, burning 8,416 acres, and the smallest was the 21-acre highway fire on June 22, 2017.
The ninth took place on November 8, 2018, and the fire, the Camp Fire, burned 20,000 acres on the first day.
Top 20 fires
Within the top 20 of the fires in Butte County, there are six that have no names and were between 1917 and 1931. In total, it burned 117,338 acres, the largest of which was a 1931 fire that burned 42,078 acres. , which is now the seventh largest in the country’s history. The province cites the cause of the fire as diverse – the same cause as Milk Ranch Fire.
The fire in 1931 remained the largest in the country’s history until the Campbell Fire.
These are the top 20 fires in order of size:
- North complex; 17 August 2020; caused by lightning; 318,935 hectares
- Dixie Fire; 13 July 2020; cause is investigated; 221 504 hectares and count *
- Campfire; 8 November 2018; caused by a power line; 153 336 hectares
- Campbell Fire; 13 August 1909; caused by equipment use; 131,504 hectares
- Storrie Fire; 17 August 2000; cause was of the railway; 56 076 hectares
- BTU Lightning Complex; 2 July 2008; caused by lightning; 53,699 hectares
- Untitled Fire, 1931; diverse cause; 42 078 hectares
- Goats Fire; 23 August 1999; caused by lightning; 34 236 hectares
- Nameless fire 1927; unknown / unknown cause; 27,841
- Humboldt fire; 11 June 2008; caused by arson; 23 344 hectares
- Nameless fire 1918; diverse cause; 22 232 hectares
- Milk Ranch Fire; September 11, 1951; diverse cause; 21,979 hectares
- Muwwe; 23 August 1999; caused by lightning; 16,757 hectares
- Cascade fire; October 8, 2017; unknown / unknown cause; 16 141 hectares
- Scotch Fire; June 21, 2008; caused by lightning; 13,008 hectares
- Nameless fire 1917; diverse cause; 12 701 hectares
- Nameless fire 1926; diverse cause; 12,536 hectares
- South-Frey Fire; June 21, 2008; caused by lightning; 12,402 hectares
- Pine Creek Fire; 21 July 1943; unknown / unknown cause; 11 360 hectares
- Doe Mill fire; 23 August 1999; caused by lightning; 10 857 hectares
* PG&E has indicated that its equipment may have started the Dixie Fire.
Fire no. 4 to no. 10 burned 368,768 acres. The North Complex burned 318,935 by itself.
Collectively, the camp, Dixie and North Complex fires have burned 689,852 acres since 2018.