Tracking California’s deadly wildfires

Because there’s no longer a real wildfire season in California, the statistics never stop in their awful aggregation. Virtually everything related to fires is on the rise: acres burned, lives lost, cost to fight the blazes. The state has 78 more annual “fire days” now than it had 50 years ago.

When there’s a letup, it typically comes in a regional shift: As fires in the northern part of California stall in late summer, Southern California braces for the hot, dry Santa Ana winds that can fan weeks or months of new flames.

We track key elements of the state’s wildfire damage here:

California on fire

More than a million acres can burn in a particularly bad year. These numbers combine state and federal land.

Lives lost

In 2017, a dire year in California, 45 people died as a result of the fires. The numbers include those responding to the blazes.

The firefighting tab

Expenses nearly always exceed the annual budget for Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency.


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