DEFINITION: "A wildland fire is an unplanned, unwanted fire burning in a natural area, such as a forest, grassland, or prairie. Wildfires can start from natural causes, such as lightning, but most are caused by humans, either accidentally or intentionally." (FEMA)
HISTORY AND SCOPE: Fire has been a significant part of our county history. There were 233 wildfires recorded in Del Norte between 1909 and 2016. Of those, 35 burned more than 100 acres. Evidence of past fires can be seen in the fire scars of the ancient redwoods, some dating back more than 1,000 years.
The largest fire in our county history was the Biscuit Fire, which burned in southern Oregon and northern California. Sparked by lightning strikes on July 13, 2002, the fire caused the evacuation of Gasquet and surrounding communities and eventually burned over 500,000 acres. Its heavy smoke contributed to health problems for residents within a 100-mile radius. Gasquet was evacuated again in September of 2020 as the fast-moving Slater Fire threatened the town.
Although the wet climate makes Del Norte's wildfire probability lower than most other California counties, overall probability remains high, with an average of two fires per year. In addition, 57 percent of the population of the planning area resides in mapped wildland fire risk areas, with six percent residing in the highest risk areas.
SIGN UP FOR ALERTS
Click on the red button to be alerted to wildfires and other current threats through the Del Norte Community Alert System. REMEMBER! If you see a fire or smell smoke, take immediate action! The Community Alert System can help us to inform you, but you should not wait for an official notice to get to safety. Be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to evacuate based on what you see, hear, and smell.
CREATE DEFENSIBLE SPACE
Create defensible space around your home or business to improve your chances of withstanding a wildfire.
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
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.
CREATE YOUR EVACUATION PLAN
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.
KNOW YOUR FIRE ZONE
Click on the red button to learn which fire zone you live in. By knowing your zone you will gain a better understanding of how you could be effected when fire weather alerts are issued.
BECOME FIRE WISE
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.