Think Progress: California’s blistering wildfire season has taken a devastating toll

Think Progress

By E.A. Cruden

One of the worst wildfire periods in California’s history is slowly winding down, with the majority of the state’s deadly fires now contained or nearly under control.

Of the 16 wildfires that tore through the state earlier this month, all but five are now contained. That includes the Mendocino Complex fire, which burned for a month and is now the worst wildfire in California’s recorded history. That fire is a complex of two fires, the Ranch fire and the River fire, both of which began burning in July.


Officials are still investigating the sources of several fires this year, including the Mendocino blaze. At least one, the Carr fire, was caused by a mechanical failure. In response to the severity of this year’s wildfire season, environmentalists in California are pushing to ban smoking at certain public spaces, namely state parks and beaches. Cigarettes are the source of a number of fires throughout California every year.

“The 2017 California wildfire season was the most destructive one on record, and the 2018 season is not off to a great start,” said California Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) during a floor debate this week while lawmakers pushed for a bill curbing outdoor smoking. “This bill is a common-sense approach to lower the risk of forest fires and will help curb pollution.”