This satellite picture of California was taken at 3:16 pm EST this afternoon. California was clear and pleasant, with the ever-present clouds over the cooler water. The big story here is no smoke! With light winds, fire fighters have made significant progress. Both the Maria Fire and the Kincaid Fire are more than 80% contained this evening and they expect them to be 100% contained by Thursday. Of the six major wildfires in California, only the relatively smaller Tehama Fire is less than 80% contained.
Here’s a look at the number of wildfires and the number of acres burned through Nov. 4 for this year and the ten previous years. Of the 11 years, this year is 3rd LOWEST for both number of fires and acres burned.
Over 90% of the wildfires in California are started by human beings. Only 6.4% are started by lightning (there are not many thunderstorms in California). Since 1977, the population of California has doubled. With twice as many people, and lots more real estate inhabited by humans, you’d expect the number of wildfires to increase. Fires do not start because the average temperature warmed up a degree or two.
A mild and relatively dry winter (rainy) season is a definite possibility in California (ridge in the West and a trough in the East). Here’s a link to Mt. Shasta and other California reservoir water levels.