Tag Archives: fires

California Wildfire Affected Areas

Forest Fires in California

pinetree

A list of recent wildfires in California, with counties and acres affected. Forest fires listed here are the ones that have affected public lands – like National Forests, National Parks, State Parks and BLM land.

On public lands you may see signs like –

Warning: Entering a Burned Area
Potential Hazards include:

  • LOOSE ROCKS
  • FALLING TREES + LIMBS
  • STUMP HOLES
  • FLASH FLOODING
  • DEBRIS FLOWS

>>> Entering a CLOSED FOREST with burn scar is a crime and can result in jail time. Check USFS forests web site for current closures. 

Forest Fires listed below are alphabetical. Green links to more data.

Dixie Fire
2021 Dixie Fire @ Lassen National Forest

2021 Wildfires in California

TOTAL ACRES
3,083,507 acres

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Alisal Fire
Santa Barbara Co
16,970 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou Co
145,632 Acres
_______________________________
 
Beckwourth Complex
Plumas, Lassen Co
105,670 Acres
_______________________________
 
Caldor Fire
Eldorado Co
221,835 Acres
_______________________________
 

Dixie Fire
Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta, Tehama Counties
963,309 Acres
_______________________________

Fawn Fire
Shasta Co
8,578 Acres
_______________________________
 

French Fire
Kern Co
26,535 Acres
_______________________________

(Sequoia National Park Fire)
Tulare Co
88,307 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou Co
26,409 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou Co
94,962 Acres
_______________________________
 
Shasta, Tehama, Trinity Counties
122,653 Acres
_______________________________
 
Trinity Co
223,124 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou, Trinity Co
199,359 Acres
_______________________________
 
River Fire
Mariposa, Madera Co
9,656 Acres
_______________________________
 
Salt Fire
Shasta Co
12,660 Acres
_______________________________
 
Tamarack Fire
Fresno Co
68,637 Acres
_______________________________
 
Tennant Fire
Siskiyou Co
10,580 Acres
_______________________________
 
Tulare Co
8,777 Acres
_______________________________
 
Tulare Co
97,528 Acres
 
California Wildfire Affected Areas
 
California Wildfire Affected Areas
2020 Bear Fire @ Zink Road; North Complex
 
2020 was a year of many “Complex Fires” inside California. These names were given to a grouping of multiple forest fires caused by lightning strikes, during dry thunderstorm events in mid August. The coastal Santa Cruz redwoods were on fire; then shortly after the Sierra Nevada started burning fast, and campers were rescued by helicopter. We started loosing Giant Sequoia trees at an alarming rate – starting this year.
 

2020 Wildfires in California

TOTAL ACRES 
4,397,809 acres

_______________________________

Riverside Co
33,424 Acres
_______________________________
 
Glenn, Mendocino, Lake, Tehama, Trinity, Shasta Counties
1,032,648 Acres
_______________________________
 
Blue Ridge Fire
Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside Counties
13,694 Acres
_______________________________
 
Los Angeles Co
115,997 Acres
_______________________________
 
Butte/Tehama/Glenn Lightning Complex 
Butte Co
19,609 Acres
_______________________________
 
Fresno, Madera Counties
379,895 Acres
_______________________________
 
San Mateo, Santa Cruz Counties
86,509 Acres
_______________________________
 
Monterey Co
124,924 Acres
_______________________________
 
Dome Fire (Mojave Preserve)
San Bernardino Co
43,273 Acres
_______________________________
 
San Bernardino, Riverside
22,744 Acres
_______________________________
 
Napa, Sonoma Counties
67,484 Acres
_______________________________
 
Lassen Co
22,634 Acres
_______________________________
 
Hog Fire
Lassen Co
9,564 Acres
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July Complex
Modoc, Siskiyou Counties
83,261 Acres
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Colusa, Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo Counties
363,220 Acres
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Loyalton Fire
Lassen, Plumas, Sierra Counties
47,029
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Fresno Co
29,667 Acres
_______________________________
 
Mountain View Fire
Mono, Alpine Counties
20,385 Acres
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North Complex
Bear Fire
Plumas, Butte Counties
318,935 Acres
_______________________________
 
Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity Counties
144,698 Acres
_______________________________
 
River Fire
Monterey Co
48,088 Acres
_______________________________
 
Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Merced, Stanislaus Counties
396,624 Acres
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Sheep Fire
Plumas, Lassen Counties
29,570 Acres
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Orange Co
12,466 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou, Del Norte Counties
166,127 Acres
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Slink Fire
Alpine, Mono Counties
26,759 Acres
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SQF Complex
Castle Fire
Tulare Co
174,178 Acres
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Valley Fire
San Diego Co
16,390 Acres
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W-5 Cold Springs
Lassen, Modoc Counties
84,817 Acres
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Shasta Co
56,338 Acres

 

disaster zone

California Wildfire Affected Areas

CapRadio WILDFIRES MAP

California Wildfire Map
click above for interactive map spanning 150 years of wildfires

 

California Wild fires

coming soon :

2019 Wildfires in California
2018 Wildfires in California
2017 Wildfires in California

California Wildfire Affected Areas
Madrone trees burned hot with 60 mph winds

California Fire Departments

California Fire Maps

CAL Fire – California Dept of Fire
USFS, National Forests
Calif County & Volunteer Fire Departments

calfiremap

Cal Fire Map
https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
CALfire: California Department of Fire

Inciwebranger
https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
USDA / USFS
National Forest Wildfires

NASA https://firms.modaps.eosdis.nasa.gov/map/

UC Fire Activity Maphttps://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Safety/Current/

Fire & Smoke
https://fire.airnow.gov/

Real Time Satellite Data
https://zoom.earth/

 

drohghtgov

Drought.gov
https://www.drought.gov/drought/data-maps-tools/current-conditions

fireforce

califrepublic

California County Fire Departments
Volunteer Fire Departments

Primitive Camping California

Sierra Creek Camping

Primitive Camps in California

Free camping outside of a developed campground, for a self-contained camper who wants seclusion and privacy. Real relaxation in total peace and quiet. More nature, less people and minimal vehicles.

Campfire NIghts

Free Campsites • Dispersed Camps  Open Camping Boondocking

primitive camp sites the bare minimum. a clearing for a tent, maybe a fire ring. no toilet, no fees; dirt road access.

campfire

campfire permits required. And it is up to you to know the current fire restrictions in the area you seek to camp overnight.

Campfire Restrictions in California

  • shovel

  • water

  • topo maps

  • trash bags

  • tow strap

  • camping gear

Back Roads to Secluded Camps –

The further out you are willing to drive, the more remote you can be. Good topo maps of the region help you to find these ultimate, secret camping spots. National Forests & BLM Lands require a free camp fire permit to have a campfire.

4x4

Fire safety is always a big concern in wildfire prone areas like California. Additional Permits & Passes may be needed in some forests or parks; each location is different. Check with the local ranger station for up to date restrictions.

Many dirt roads lead avid campers to the best out-of-the-way camp sites. Camps may have picnic tables or just a fire ring, but usually NO toilets. Have the “No Bathroom Blues”? Don’t sweat it. check out the page on Camp Potty

Some camp sites are as bare as a small clearing, a rock fire ring if you’re lucky. A detailed backcountry map is always advised. If you count on your digital mobile device and online access for mapping, you could find yourself very lost. GoogleMaps is known for mislabeling the smallest of back roads – and they do not feature dirt roads either.

free desert washes
Turtle Mountain Road, SoCal

camptruckA high clearance vehicle may be needed to reach certain camp spots, but many can be accessed with a standard passenger car. Low riders will likely bottom out and motorcycle riders will get dusty.

Know your vehicles limitations for any off-road use and don’t get stuck in a bad situation. Soft sand is quite common in deserts and 4×4 might be needed. There aren’t any tow trucks out in the boonies and if you do find one, it’ll cost you something fierce. Watch for large rocks, deep ruts or tree limbs in the road (at any time) and watch low overhanging branches when driving a motorhome in to such spots. Some dedicated, hard-core RV campers prefer to camp in remote locations.

Kern RV spot

yellow-post camp sites

Southern California has something called yellow post camps, but we’ve really ONLY seen them inside San Bernardino National Forest areas, which includes Idyllwild and Mount San Jacinto, plus all the Big Bear Lake Mountains.

YELLOW STICK? These are fire safe spots w/ picnic table; secluded in the forest, some accessible by passenger cars, while other camps require a 4×4 to reach. Yellow post sites campfires are often off limits during fire restrictions, when only fires are allowed inside the larger developed campgrounds.

dirt road and trailheads

Backpackers trailheads often have a few camp sites near the parking lot, but these may be busy during summer months. Dirt roads leading to trailheads can have primitive camp sites along them as well. Long, big creeks in the forests are notorious for having awesome camp sites. Big river camp sites are sometimes free, if you know where to look. Sometimes the smallest of California campgrounds have no charge, first come, first serve (BLM, National Forest, or State run).

freespice

No charge campgrounds in the Sierra Mts 

find free camp spots

Before it got labeled BOONDOCKING: Primitive Camping in remote spots was what we lived for. Camp outside of developed campgrounds, for free. Campfires will usually be banned on these back roads during the driest part of the year. Check with local ranger stations for current fire restrictions.

Campfire Restrictions in California

check

inyohighroad
Inyo High Country Roads

39N06dusk
McCloud #39N06 – Grizzly Peak Lookout Rd

pros and cons

possible dirt road access, seclusion, privacy, darker skies, no fees, no crowds, real peace & quiet

no toilet, no picnic tables, no pavement, no hospital, a long hike out, no cell phone service?

hiker

always be prepared to hike out (if need be). a giant tree can come down and block your exit road. landslides often happen on dirt back roads. the vehicle could break down or become disabled. get a topographic map and know how to read the terrain, without your device/phone.

elevation

PAY extra close attention when driving in (visually with terrain and your eyes and your map). You never know when you may need to back track – or turn around to find a PLAN B campsite.

Avid camper people are indeed known to GPS waypoint their favorite pick campsites (way on the back roads), so they can arrive after work, in the dark, on a Thursday night. Now that’s planning ahead!

rockfirering

Camp Hole

northlassen

Primitive Campsites


Campfires in California

Campfires on the Back Roads
Campfires on the Back Roads: permit, shovel & water bucket required

campfireWhen & Where – Campfires in California

Campfire Restrictions in California

California has many different National Forest districts and each region has their own fire restrictions. State Parks & BLM also manages recreation areas & camping in the Golden State. Each agency & region has different rules, so blanket answers cannot apply to general questions on campfires.

CAMPFIRE PERMITS
Campfire permits are required for fires outside of designated recreation sites. During fire restrictions, campfires could be banned. Campfire Permit are available from Forest Service, CalFire or BLM offices or online,
http://www.preventwildfireca.org/

ranger

Manter Fire, Dome Land Wilderness
Manter Fire [2000], Dome Land Wilderness, Southern Sierra Nevada

the new abnormal

California suffers more from wildfires now than ever before. Native tribes let lightning strike wild fires burn and they did not suppress wildfire. Residential development creeping ever higher and denser into the foothills, an abundance of roadways, with the overgrown forest make fire danger ever more real.

Closed off wilderness areas, impassable dirt roads, landslides, fallen trees everywhere. Utility services (power lines), plus high winds and overgrown forest also play a huge part in the current wildfire catastrophes. Drought conditions or record winter rains, the huge population on the west coast -along with many other factors – means more fire danger. Educate yourself and others on fire safety, forests and weather patterns. Heed the wind, while in the wild. Wind spreads fire easily!tent camping

Current Fire Restrictions:

By mid summer we have usually have several wild land fires burning, which means campfire restrictions are usually in place before JULY 4th weekend. When this happens – No open campfires are allowed in the backcountry or on the back roads.

Often in the driest of years, no campfires are allowed (even inside the campgrounds).

camp

If you love to primitive camp outside of developed campgrounds, you need to plan more road trips for spring time & autumn. Or head further north, well above Redding – where the forest are moist and snow graces Mount Shasta year round. Or perhaps, go desert camping during winter months. Checking the National Forest web sites can be confusing and their online information could be outdated.

Each forest and area is individually managed. No concise, easy-to-read list or online map exist on which forests are allowing backcountry campfires – and which ones are not. Conditions seem to change so often and they aren’t great about updating those .gov web sites.  Best to call a local ranger station and ask about any current fire restrictions. You know, actually “talk on a phone” to a USFS, BLM or CalFire official.  If you can speak to a field ranger, they can tell you more on dispersed camping. Or you can navigate the USDA web site to find current ALERTS & RESTRICTIONS. Cryptic lingo may be encountered, and many clicks maybe needed; possibly forcing you to download a PDF of current fire rules.NFSlogo

Here is a page with all the California National Forests listed w/ phone numbers
http://www.totalescape.com/active/campstuff/NF/NFS.html

Narrow down a specific region by checking out where fires are active today and selecting a region well away from big fires.
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/

see more on this topic –

Fire Safety
Camping Without a Campfire
Firewood Dealers

rock fire ring

Camp Fires Correctly

walkincampsite
Eagle Lake Tent Campground

 

NO Campfires?
No Campfires in California?

hiker

Fire Light Cove
Cove Camping in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

California Fire Lookout

Dome Land from Bald Mtn, KERN
Bald Mountain (elev 9382′) Lookout in Sequoia National Forest

NFS Fire Lookout Towers

JULY 2019 – Many thanks goes to Pike County Lookout for initially spotting the #RockFire – in the Plumas National Forest, near Berry Creek, CA

Lookouts in the California National Forests

Ready to see far and wide – with wild terrain? Views for 100 miles out and the best scenery California has to offer. Be prepared to off road or hike to reach one of these destinations.

Below is a list of historic look out towers & cabins used for spotting wildfires. Some are located on steep granite peaks, ridge lines or dirt roads. 4WD may be recommended to reach some of these. Road conditions can change w/ harsh mountain weather, so be prepared to rough it. Thunderstorms are common on these mountain ridges.

Several of these places are cabins, some are stone houses, but most fire lookouts are basic metal towers – with high climbing staircases, so you must be in decent physical strength to haul your ass up this high.

rangers cabin mountains hikers vacation

Cabins are also called guard stations, huts, bunkhouses. Most are located on mountain tops, but a few exist in desert regions. Some are refurbished & available for overnight rentals. Bare bones furnishings, so forget the frills. People come up here for the thrills. To be outside w/ epic views, way away from the urban grind & to feel on top-of-the-world.

Coon Creek Cabin

 

NFSlogoSee the full list of overnight accommodations on mountain peaks & ridges, some near meadowsNational Forest Cabin Rentals

El Dorado National Forest USFS

Robbs Peak Lookout
Robb’s Hut / Robbs Cabin
6686′ elev near Placerville, Gold Country California

Cuyama Peak
Cuyama Lookout is a rough road up. Off Hwy 33, Los Padres NF

Los Padres National Forest

4x4Cuyama Peak Lookout Tower (pictured above) off Hwy 166 & via Santa Barbara Cyn, 4×4 recommended. Sorta near jct w/ Hwy 33

Big Bear Lake 2002
Big Bear Lake, Southern California

San Bernardino National Forest USFS

Butler Peak Fire Lookout
elev. 8537′ (no overnight stays)
located in between Green Valley Lake and Fawnskin

Morton Peak Fire Lookout
(no longer available for overnight stays 2019)

Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout
(no overnight stays)
above Rimforest, off Bear Springs Road, N of Hwy 18

Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout
elev. 8846′ (no overnight stays)
highest lookout in the San Bernardino NF

hiker

Sequoia National Forest USFS

Bald Mountain Lookout (no overnight stays)
off of Sherman’s Pass Road #22S05, 4×4 may be needed.
Bald Mountain 9382′ elevation; in between the Kern Plateau & Kern Riverranger

Big Meadows Cabin
Big Meadows Guard Station
off Big Meadows Rd #14S11
7600′ elevation; located in between Sequoia NP & Kings Canyon NP

Mountain Home Guard Station
Mountain Home State Forest, Sequoia Groves
6000′ elev. near Springville, CA

Needles Fire Lookout
(destroyed in structure fire 2011)

Poso Guard Station Cabin Rental
open all year round 4500′ elev. near Kernville, CA

pinetree

Sierra National Forest USFS

Camp Four and a half Cabin
Camp 4 ½ Cabin Rental
Lower Kings River, open all year round
1100′ elev. near Pine Flat Reservoir

 

Six Rivers National Forest USFS

Bear Basin Butte Cabin & Fire Lookout
elevation 5300′ in Six Rivers NF / Smith River NRA
(road damage & access issues 2017)

4x4

Tahoe National Forest USFS

Calpine Lookout Cabin Rental
near Sierraville, CA

Pike County Lookout (no overnight stays)
near Challenge, CA & New Bullards Bar Reservoir

Sardine Peak Fire Lookout
overlooking the Sierra Buttes and serene Lakes Basin, Yuba Rivers, North Gold Country CA

lakes basin views

BEWARE:
California is the land of wildfires!

campfireAlways check for local fire conditions at nearest ranger station, obtain a free campfire permit when camping outside of developed campgrounds, and always practice fire safety when visiting our public lands. You can be held liable for wildfires. Outta control campfire, cigarettes, idling vehicles on tall, dry grass. Be very cautious with fires on the often dry, west coast.

see also –  National Forest Cabin Rentals