LIST: Largest California Wildfires - NBC Southern California
California Wildfires

California Wildfires

Coverage of brush fires across the state

LIST: Largest California Wildfires



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    A firefighter uses a drip torch to light a back fire August 31, 2009 in La Crescenta, California.

    The list below shows the locations of California's 10 largest wildfires.

    Each fire includes the cause of the fire, date, location, acres burned, number of buildings damaged and fatalities. The data was compiled by Cal Fire and does not include fires before 1932, when less reliable records were available. 

    The list includes all fires in California, regardless of whether they were under local, state or federal agencies' responsibility.

    Note: The complex of deadly wilfires burning in Northern California are not included in this list. Taken as a whole, the October Fire Siege burned at least 245,000 acres in several counties.

    1. Cedar

    Cause: Human Related
    Date: October 2003
    Location: San Diego County
    Acres: 273,246
    Structures: 2,820
    Fatalities: 15

    2. Rush

    Cause: Lightning
    Date: August 2012
    Location: Lassen County
    Acres: 271,911 California/43,666 Nevada
    Structures: None
    Fatalities: None

    3. Rim

    Cause: Human Related
    Date: August 2013
    Location: Tuolumne County
    Acres: 257,314
    Structures: 112
    Fatalities: None

    4. Thomas

    Cause: Undetermined
    Date: December 2017
    Location: Ventura, Santa Barbara counties
    Acres: At least 242,000
    Structures: At least 900
    Fatalities: 1

    5. Zaca

    Cause: Human Related 
    Date: July 2007 
    Location: Santa Barbara County 
    Acres: 240,207 
    Structures: 1 
    Fatalities: 0

    6. Matilija

    Cause: Undetermined
    Date: September 1932
    Location: Ventura County
    Acres: 220,000
    Structures: 0
    Fatalities: 0

    7. Witch

    Cause: Powerlines
    Date: October 2007
    Location: San Diego County
    Acres: 197,990
    Structures: 1,650
    Fatalities: 2

    8. Klamath Theater Complex

    Cause: Lightning
    Date: June 2008
    Location:Siskiyou County
    Acres: 192,038
    Structures: 0
    Fatalities: 2

    9. Marble Cone

    Cause: Lightning
    Date: July 1977
    Location: Monterey County
    Acres: 177,866
    Structures: 0
    Fatalities: 0

    10. Laguna

    Cause: Powerlines
    Date: September 1970
    Location: San Diego County
    Acres: 175,425
    Structures: 382
    Fatalities: 5

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