SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As Butte County residents and officials shift from fighting the fire to working toward recovery, the California Office of Emergency Services released a comparison of the two most destructive fires in the state’s history.
The fires, which happened within a year of one another, share the top two spots as the most destructive fires in California. But the Camp Fire in Butte County surpassed the 2017 fire in many devastating statistics.
In terms of fatalities, the Camp Fire rose to the deadliest fire in the state’s history with 88 known fatalities as of Nov. 29. Additionally, 126 people remain unaccounted for in Butte County. The Tubbs Fire claimed the lives of 22 people, making it the fourth deadliest fire in California history, according to CalOES.
While the Camp Fire burned for six fewer days, from Nov. 8-25, it burned 153,336 acres compared to the 36,307 acres burned in 23 days by the Tubbs Fire.
The Camp Fire also claimed the destruction of more structures, destroying 18,613, 13,972 of which were residences, while the Tubbs Fire resulted in the loss of 5,636 structures.
There is one area that the fires match up in — wind speeds. Official reports show that both fires were spread by extremely high winds. Gusts around 30-40 mph and isolated winds upwards of 70 mph were recorded in both fires.
Despite that similarity, the Camp Fire brought slightly worse air quality to the Bay Area reaching an index of 271 on Nov. 16 while the Tubbs brought an index of 269 on Oct. 13, 2017.
The air quality reached hazardous levels in areas of Sacramento and closer to the Camp Fire. In Chico, 15 miles from Paradise, air quality reached an index of 571 with the World Air Quality index.
While these two fires are the most destructive in the state’s history, there are still many more fires that affected communities across the state with devastating effects. Those fires include 2017’s Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara County, as well as the fires this summer such as the Carr Fire in Shasta County, the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Forest, and the Mendocino Complex Fire that burned in both Lake and Mendocino counties.
With just over a year between all of these fires, it’s clear to see that these devastating wildfires are becoming the new normal in California and are continuing to get worse.