2017 and 2018 have marked a year of lessons learned for communities and firefighters across California. In 2017, less than 1 year ago, the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa broke the record for homes destroyed by a single wildfire in modern US history. One month later, the Thomas Fire in Southern California became the largest wildfire in California history. Those records didn't last long. The Camp Fire in Butte County started two days ago and is now the most destructive wildfire - burning nearly 7,000 12,000 19,000 structures (13,972 residences, 528 commercial and 4,293 other buildings) and destroying an entire city in just a few hours. The 2018 Mendocino Complex fires shattered the Thomas fire's record after only 8 months, burning almost 3 times the area of what is now the second largest California fire.
While it's too early to know exactly what we'll learn from the Camp Fire, stories coming home from the front-lines reinforce a few important points about evacuations and protecting homes.