New data below shows the Dixie Fire is now the second largest fire in California’s history burning over 600,000 acres. In fact, 85% of our largest fires on the list below have all started since 2000. The only exceptions are the fires in 1932, 1970 & 1977.
But what’s causing all of these larger wildfires over the past 21 years? Well, increasing drought and temperatures are certainly to blame for drying out the vegetation and making it easier for wildfires to spark but there’s also been a change to our weather pattern at times that’s leaving us dry. Check out the weather chart below and you can see what the weather pattern will often resemble during a time of dry and windy conditions. It’s all about the strong high pressure building in the Pacific and pushing our storm track to the north. When this happens, the rain stays away and we’re left with a drier system producing wind. This same setup can also happen more frequently during La Niña years, like most recently in 2020 and early 2021. This is something we will be watching for again in Winter 2021 -2022 as there’s a 66% chance of La Niña returning.
Since there’s no controlling Mother Nature, we are all on the defensive. While many of you have already started to fireproof your home there’s a few other things you can outside do besides trimming trees. Checkout my list of drought tolerant and fire resistant plants. One of my favorites is Myoporum, which is a ground cover and can encompass very large spaces over time.
You can find out more about how the Bay Area climate is changing in a series of stories the Microclimate Weather Team worked on across the Bay Area.