When it comes to the Inland Empire, every season is fire season. It seems that with each ear, a new series of wildfires break out that draw the attention of worried onlookers and the news media. The most recent fire, the Lake Fire, has consumed over 30,000 acres. As destructive as that might sound, the Lake Fire doesn’t even manage to make Cal Fire’s top ten list. Even if these fire stories seem frightening, it’s important to know that it could always be worse. Here is a brief look at the top three biggest fires in California’s recent history.
The Rim Fire was started by an illegal campfire in the Stanislaus National Forest and went on to burn over 257,000 acres of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in August 2013. The Rim fire is third on the CalFire list and though its acreage is considerably less than the second entry on the list (Rush fire), the Rim fire was closer to population centers. This resulted in the loss of 112 structures, but thankfully no loss of life. The fire was not technically declared “out” until over a year later in November 2014.
The Rush Fire began its consumption after a lightning strike in Northeastern California in August 2012. While it has the second spot on Cal Fire’s list at around 271,000 acres burned, this acreage doesn’t account for the rough 43,000 acres that burned in Nevada. If considering the totality of acreage, the Rush fire would knock the Cedar fire from the top spot. Unlike the Cedar fire, the burning was mostly inuninhabited wilderness area resulting in no structure damage or death.
The Cedar Fire that devoured San Diego County was not just a notorious fire by itself, but also one of 15 different wildfires that were raging during the single month of October 2003. The Cedar Fire holds the top spot on Cal Fire’s list at over 273,000 acres scorched, 2,820 structures destroyed, and 15 deaths. The fire was caused by a lost hunter ineptly attempting to light a signal fire in hopes of being rescued. The 2003 fire season led to a variety of policy changes at state, local, and federal levels with how fires were fought.
What You Can Learn
Fire damage risk and wildfires are a part of everyday reality in the Inland Empire. It’sextremely important to keep the following steps in mind to ensure that you, your family, and your property areprotectedshould disaster strike:
- Verify that every room in your household has a fire alarm with functioning batteries
- Verify that your household has a fire extinguisher readily accessible.
- Keep the area around your home clear of dry brush
- Create an evacuation plan with your loved ones
- Verify that your home is covered for wildfires by your insurance.
- Make sure you know the reporting procedure for your insurance company.
- Let a fire restoration service handle the rest.
You probably won’t prevent the next big wildfire that strikes the Inland Empire, but you can keep you and your family ready for when it happens. By taking these relatively simple steps and following them through, you can ensure that you, your family, and your property are given the best defense against wildfire and fire damage you can get.