Wildfires, Death and Disaster

California Wildfires

Santa Clarita, California.
Santa Clarita, California. | Source
California wildfires are using valuable resources with 8 fires burning concurrently. The Rim Fire has destroyed 92,737 acres and is still burning. August 29, 2013
California wildfires are using valuable resources with 8 fires burning concurrently. The Rim Fire has destroyed 92,737 acres and is still burning. August 29, 2013 | Source

Wildfire Season 2014

Wildfire season began early in 2014. Most of the fires have been contained but Haigh Fire in Mariposa County is only 75% controlled with one hundred thirty acres burned by June 11. From January 1, 2014 through June 7, 2014 2,118 wildfires have destroyed over 17,159 acres in California. The season has barely begun. 2014 is likely to be a destructive one in California.

August Wildfires

Multiple Wildfires Wreak Havoc on the Western United States.

  • California (8)
  • Idaho (5)
  • Montana (6)
  • Oregon (5)
  • Washington (2)
  • Utah (1)
  • Wyoming (1

Wildfire Season

Wildfire season begins during hot, dry summers in the western United States. Experts say that wildfire can break out year round as Climate Change brings about more heat and stormy weather. Wildfires are not always the result of human negligence. However, it is important for campers and hikers to take extra precautions at all times in this area. Many wildfires are started by lightning strikes during particularly violent storms that move across the area. 2013 has been particularly devastating and Yosemite National Park fires are a primary concern. Visitors and tourists from around the world have been evacuated from the park this year and in August the main road to the park has been closed due to the imminent threat to life.

California Wildfires 2013

show route and directions
A markerTuolumne County -
Tuolumne, CA, USA
[get directions]

The Rim Fire, near Yosemite National Park, continues to be the most active and is at present the 13th largest fire in California’s recorded history.

B markerPlacer County -
Placer, CA, USA
[get directions]

American Fire is located 10 miles northeast of Foresthill. The wildfire covered 24,408 acres. The cause of the blaze is unknown.

C markerTehama County -
Tehama, CA, USA
[get directions]

Deer Fire is located near Deer Creek, 12 miles east of Los Molinos. 10, 325 acres have been burned with 1 injury.

D markerSan Bernardino County -
County, San Bernardino, CA 92376, USA
[get directions]

Gobblers Fire was caused by lightening, in steep inaccessible terrain at the upper end of Lytle Creek near Stockton Flats.

E markerTulare County -
Tulare, CA, USA
[get directions]

Fish Fire is located in a remote area of the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest. The wildfire was caused by lightning strike.

California 2013 Wildfire Statistics

Between January 1, 2013 through August 17, 2013, 4,715 fires destroyed 94,855 acres of land in California. The five year average for the same time period is 3,328 fires and 136,776. There has clearly been an increase in the number of wildfires during this period of time. On August 26, 2013 California governor Jerry Brown told news reporters that the cost of the Yosemite Fire is $20 million dollars.

Resident stands on rooftop as fire in California moves closer to his home.
Resident stands on rooftop as fire in California moves closer to his home. | Source
June 2011 in Arizona hundreds of people were evacuated as 300 square miles were burned. This image was taken of a five day old fire.
June 2011 in Arizona hundreds of people were evacuated as 300 square miles were burned. This image was taken of a five day old fire. | Source
Firefighters battled close to the flames as they brought one of three wildfires in Arizona under control in June 2011
Firefighters battled close to the flames as they brought one of three wildfires in Arizona under control in June 2011 | Source

Death of Arizona Firefighters

Nineteen members of the Prescott Fire Department's Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed Sunday while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire, northwest of Phoenix on July 2, 2013. The dead were listed as Andrew Ashcraft, 29; Robert Caldwell, 23; Travis Carter, 31; Dustin Deford, 24; Christopher MacKenzie, 30; Grant McKee, 21; Sean Misner, 26; Scott Norris, 28; Wade Parker, 22; John Percin, 24; Anthony Rose, 23; Jesse Steed, 36; Joe Thurston, 32; Travis Turbyfill, 27; William Warneke, 25; Clayton Whitted, 28; Kevin Woyjeck, 21; and Garret Zuppiger, 27. Also killed was their superintendent, Eric Marsh, 43.


Prescott lost 20% of Firefighters in Department

The shocking accident took the lives of 20 percent of the Prescott Fire Department and devastated the city as well as family members. One member of the team was working in an area away from the team and survived. Brendan McDonough, 21, was serving as the lookout when the wind suddenly changed direction and overcame the 19 men on June 30 incident demonstrates the volatile nature of fighting wildfires as well as the ever present the danger.

Nineteen "hotshot" firefighters, an elite group of wildfire fighters were killed in Arizona.
Nineteen "hotshot" firefighters, an elite group of wildfire fighters were killed in Arizona. | Source

What You Know About Wildfires

Did you learn anything about wildfire disasters?

  • I had no idea these wildfires were this bad.
  • I knew they were dangerous but I had no idea how large and how many there are.
  • You know a little about wildfires but I could tell you more.
See results without voting

Idaho Wildfire

show route and directions
A markerSun Valley -
Sun Valley, ID, USA
[get directions]

Beaver Creek Fire has burned over 104,000 acres in an area where celebrities Tom Hank, Bruce Willie and others live.

B markerBoise National Forest -
Boise National Forest, 1249 South Vinnell Way #200, Boise, ID 83709, USA
[get directions]

Little Queens Fire

C markerIdaho Department of Land -
Idaho Department of Lands - Jerome, 324 S 417 E #2, Jerome, ID 83338, USA
[get directions]

Incendiary Creek

NIFC Member Organizations

Organizations who are part of the NIFC are:

  • US Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management(BLM)
  • National Weather Service
  • The National Park Service
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • The US Fire Administration-FEMA

National Interagency Fire Center

Located in Boise, Idaho, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), is the nation's support center for wildland firefighting. The NIFC is made up of Eight different agencies and organizations. These organizations work together to interface and share information because the NIFC does not have a single director or manager. Working as the nations logistical support center, member organizations of the NIFC work together to reduce the duplication of services, cut costs, and coordinate national fire planning and operations.


View From Pilot Working With Fire Fighters

Living in Wildfire Prone Areas

Should people live in high risk wildfire areas?

  • Yes, but residents must understand the risk and be financially responsible.
  • No. The risk is too high to human life and replacement cost for homes prohibitive.
See results without voting

Wildfire Risk Assessment

  • Danger to structures
  • Danger to human life, including rescue workers and firefighters
  • Danger to wildlife
  • Financial cost to individuals
  • Financial cost to communities

Evacuation: Things to Pack and Do

  • birth certificates, insurance papers and a household inventory list (copies). Keep originals in safe deposit box
  • Pets: have leashes, pet carriers, food and water ready. Plan ahead where to take pets and all pet needs
  • Plan ahead for family members who may be at home in emergency when you are away.
  • DO NOT CALL 9-1-1
  • Tune in to local radio or television for warnings
  • Pack, including Emergency Supplies Kit
  • Park car facing out and have keys available for emergency exit

Planning for Emergency Wildfire Evacuation

When living in a high risk area it is extremely important to plan ahead for foreseeable emergencies. Wildfires are unforgiving and may appear without warning. Planning ahead by keeping check lists and exit routes available will make your evacuation happen in safety.

It is extremely important NOT to call 9-1-1 during this emergency. The 9-1-1 line should be left available for those who are already in danger or seriously ill. With proper planning and care most evacuations will safely save the lives of everyone seeking shelter.

© 2013 Sandra Mireles

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Share Your Thoughts About Wildfires 3 comments

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 3 years ago from Minnesota

It has been really scary seeing all these wildfires on the news. It seems there is one every day. I too pray for all those brave, hard working firefighters who lost their lives trying to save others and put out the fires. Thanks for a very informative article on this issue.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you so much for your heartfelt comments. My heart goes out to the families of the men who were lost in Arizona. I can only imagine the distress of the lone surviving firefighter member of the team that was lost. My prayers are with the city of Phoenix and the families.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

The statistics are astounding. I thought I knew what was happening in reference to the devastating fires but I had no idea there had been so many just this year.

The death of the firefighters rips at my soul. These brave men and women put their lives on the line every time there is a fire call.

This is particularly close to my heart as one of dear friends lost her son, who was just beginning his life (age 22) in a fire. He was a young fireman who had gone to help extinguish a fire at a popular restaurant. The restaurant was just behind my home on the North Causeway in New Smyrna Beach Fl. As he went in, the roof collapsed and he died at the scene. It was devastating for our town; there church was filled to overflowing and the yard outside was overflowing as well.

So every time I hear of deaths such as these it brings all of that back.

My heart and prayers go out to those families and others who have lost loved ones in this way.

Thank you for sharing this article especially the evacuation tips.

Angels are on the way this morning ps

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