DEFINITION: A wildland fire is any uncontrolled fire on undeveloped land that requires fire suppression. Wildland fires can occur naturally and are important to many ecosystem processes, but most are started by people. Wildland fires are often caused by humans, intentionally or accidentally. There is no way to predict when one might break out. If a fire does break out and spreads rapidly, residents may need to evacuate within minutes, hours, or days.
HISTORY AND SCOPE: Fire has been a significant factor in Del Norte County’s history. Evidence of this can be seen in the fire scars on ancient redwoods, some dating back more than a thousand years. Before 1875, Native Americans often burned much of what is now Del Norte County. Fire would clear the understory of the forested areas, driving out insects and rodents. Fire also enhanced the grasses and forbs used to weave baskets. Early European settlers used fire for enlarging and replenishing pasture/agricultural lands. These fires often escaped their control. There have been 233 wildfires recorded in Del Norte County between 1909 and 2016. Of those, 35 were more than 100 acres.
The largest recorded fire was the Biscuit Fire in 2002, which burned in southern Oregon and northern California. It began on July 13, 2002, due to lightning strikes and eventually burned over 500,000 acres. This fire caused the evacuation of Gasquet and surrounding communities. Its heavy smoke contributed to health problems for residents within a 100-mile radius. The Biscuit Fire’s boundaries stretched from 10 miles east of the coastal community of Brookings, Oregon; south to the communities of Hiouchi and Gasquet; east to the Illinois Valley in southern Oregon; and north to within a few miles of the Rogue River in Oregon. The fire was one of the most difficult fires to contain in recent history.
Click on the red button to be informed of a wildfire and other threats. When wildfires or other threats occur in Del Norte, we use the Del Norte Community Alert System to inform you so that you can keep you and your family safe. REMEMBER! If you perceive a threat such as seeing fire or smelling smoke, take immediate action! The Alert System is a tool to help us inform you, but sometimes technology fails or fire moves too quickly. You should always be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to evacuate based on what you see, hear, and smell.
Click on the red button to learn how to learn about watches vs. warnings. Learn about the differences between different fire weather watch and red flag warning alert levels, plus see what watches and warnings are currently in effect for your area.
Click on the red button to learn how to create your evacuation plan. It doesn't take a lot of work to put together a go bag and to talk with friends and family about what you will do in case of evacuation. This site will walk you through the questions you should consider around communications, pets, children, and even sheltering in a COVID-19 environment.
Click on the red button to learn how to become a certified Firewise USA© site. Firewise USA® is a voluntary program that provides a framework to help neighbors get organized, find direction, and take action to increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community.