Timeline of California Wildfires

Here in Northern California, we woke up to a dark, smokey, and orange sky. It was morning, but it looked like night. It was afternoon, but it looked like night. It was an eerie view outside my window of something that felt too close.

The wind was blowing smoke and ash from wildfires further up north from where I live. So, I wondered, as one does, about past fires and made the chart below.

California Fires

From 2004 to 2020, for incidents that burned at least 300 acres.

ACRES BURNED

300

1k

10k

100k

Jan.

Feb.

March

April

May

June

July

August

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Still active

2020

Jan.

Feb.

March

April

May

June

July

August

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

SOURCE: CAL FIRE / BY: FLOWINGDATA

ACRES BURNED

300

1k

10k

100k

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

‘04

‘05

‘06

‘07

‘08

‘09

‘10

‘11

‘12

‘13

‘14

‘15

‘16

‘17

‘18

‘19

Still active

‘20

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

SOURCE: CAL FIRE / BY: FLOWINGDATA


 

This feels like a lot to take in.

Notes

I got the data from CAL FIRE. There’s a link at the bottom of the page to download data files. I originally planned to draw timelines for each incident, but for whatever reason, the extinguished date was not reliable. See also the Axios chart by Lazaro Gamio from a few years ago, which I had in mind while I made this one.

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