Four major wildfires are burning in California. Dozens of homes and other structures have been consumed by the flames and 100,000 have been ordered to evacuate (only some of them have evacuated). A middle-aged man who was near the fire went into cardiac arrest and died. A death was also confirmed at an earlier wildfire east of Los Angeles. (Pic. above from KRON).
Here’s a look at U.S. wildfire statistics. This year-to-date we have had 42,583 wildfires. That’s 3rd lowest of the last 11 years. We’ve had 4,432,941 acres burned and that’s 4th lowest of the last 11 years. It’s also a little over half the number of acres burned to date in the past two years.
While lightning is the cause of many wildfires worldwide, thunderstorms are not common in California. Studies show +90% of wildfires are caused by humans in California (not because the temperature went up a degree or two). Causes of fires in California include arson, campfires that get out of control, cigarettes and smoking materials, fireworks, cars (sparks) and downed power lines (from wind or traffic accidents).
As of 11:30 pm Friday evening, the number of homes without power in California was 27,051. Some of these customers had the power turned off by the power company on purpose, because strong winds were occurring and they were afraid a downed live wire from the wind could cause a fire. The second leading state for power outages was Texas (9,978 customers) and the third leading state was Michigan (4,176 customers). Here in lower Michigan, a total of 2,360 DTE Energy customers were without power and 1,646 Consumers Energy customers were without power, including 483 cusomers in Midland Co.,, 332 in Alcona Co., 144 in Hillsdale Co., and 140 in Barry Co. The causes were listed as unknown, equipment failure and downed tree limbs due to gusty winds.