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Dixie Fire now second largest in state history; what else you should know

On Sunday, Aug. 8 the Dixie Fire that is raging in Plumas, Butte, Tehama and now Lassen counties became the second-largest wildfire in California’s history and unfortunately continues to grow. The latest reports provided at the Monday morning, Aug. 9 briefing, indicate the inferno grew an additional 25,810 acres since Sunday with the total loss currently at 489,287 acres destroying 433 structures and is only 21 percent contained. The drought, abundance of dry fuel in the forest, hot weather and windy conditions continue to make it more difficult for firefighters to control this fire.

According to Cal Fire statistics, a look at the recent 5-year average shows the number of fires in California was 4,554 destroying a combined total of 411,691 acres. By comparison, the year-to-date in 2020 shows that number increased to 5.557 fires that burned 273.549 acres. Alarmingly, the 2021 year-to-date figures reveal those numbers have now dramatically jumped to 6,203 fires that have currently ravished 876,000 acres.

Most don’t need to be reminded that the state’s most destructive and deadliest fire was the 2018 Camp Fire, which eerily started in the Feather River Canyon only about 10 miles from where the Dixie Fire started. At 153,336 acres, it claimed 85 lives and destroyed 18,804 buildings including most of the town of Paradise.

Here are the 10 largest wildfire in California’s history with the date started, counties impacted and acres burned:

  1. August Complex

Aug. 2020; Tehama County

1,032,638 Acres


  1. Dixie Fire

July 2021; Plumas, Butte, Tehama and Lassen counties

489,287 acres


  1. Mendocino Complex

July 2018: Colusa, Lake, Mendocino and Glenn counties

459,123 acres


  1. SCU Lightning Complex

Aug. 2020; Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Joaquin counties

396,624 acres


  1. Creek Fire

Sept. 2020; Fresno and Madera counties

379,895 acres


  1. LNU Lightning Complex

Aug. 2020; Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Yolo and Solano counties

363,220 acres


  1. North Complex

Aug. 2020; Plumas, Butte and Yuba counties

318,938 acres


  1. Thomas Fire

Dec. 2017; Ventura and Santa Barbara counties

281,893 acres


  1. Cedar Fire

Oct. 2003; San Diego county

273,246 acres


10 Rush Fire

Aug. 2012; Lassen county

271,911 acres in California

43,666 acres in Nevada


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