The firestorms by the numbers
October 10, 2017
• Little containment yet
• Firefighters battling winds, low humidity
The scope of the firestorms that have swept across parts of the California wine country as well as in Orange County since Sunday can be difficult to grasp.
Here is a sketch by the numbers:
At least 11, with officials fearing some of the hundreds of missing persons reports might end with further victims. Seven of those known killed were in Sonoma County, three in Napa County and one in Mendocino County.
• Acres burned
As of Monday night, at least 89,000 acres were burned in a series of fires in Northern California. Another 4,500 acres have been burned in Anaheim County in Southern California. It works out to about 139 square miles.
• Property damage
At least 1,500 structures, ranging from hotels to mobile homes. Entire subdivisions have been leveled in Sonoma County. Even homes built to stronger state codes, which require fire-resistant roofs, for example, were consumed when flames entered through soffits.
The initial causes are under investigation. But firefighters and property owners are all too aware of how the fires spread so rapidly: High winds, listing to more than 50 miles per hour at times, spread hot embers from one first to dry vegetation, starting yet another fire.
• Not the worst
It may be small comfort, but as of Tuesday morning, the wildfires’ damage would rank them, as a whole, only fifth most destructive in state history. In terms of known deaths, third. By far the state’s worst fire to date was the “Tunnel” fire in the Oakland hills in 1991 which killed 25 people and leveled 2,900 structures.