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California’s five biggest fires this season

The Kincade Fire, now 80 percent contained, is by far the largest of this California wildfire season — but last season’s biggest fire was six times the size.

The map above shows the locations of the five biggest fires that have started in the state this year. Zoom in to see their approximate perimeters.

The details of those fires:

1 / Kincade Fire, 77,758 acres (121 square miles), 374 structures destroyed. Started Oct. 23; cause under investigation. On its fourth day, amid high winds, residents of 775 square miles of Sonoma County were ordered to evacuate.

2/ Walker Fire, 54,612 acres (85 square miles); 9 structures destroyed.  Started Sept. 4; cause under investigation. Most of the burned area was in the Plumas National Forest.

3/ Tucker Fire, 14,217 acres (22 square miles). Started July 28. Fire investigators declared it “unintentionally human-caused,” with no further details.  No evacuation was required in the sparsely inhabited area of Modoc County.

4/ Taboose Fire, 10,296 acres (16 square miles). Started Sept. 4 by lightning. After it moved from the high desert west into the rugged terrain of the Sierra, it has been allowed to burn itself out, with confinement by rock barriers and rain or snow.

5/ Maria Fire, 9,999 acres (15½ square miles); 4 structures destroyed. Started Oct. 31; cause under investigation. Ventura County fire grew explosively in first hours, now is close to containment.

In the 2018 fire season, there were six California wildfires bigger than Kincade: in June and July, the Mendocino Complex (459,123 acres), Carr (229,651), Ferguson (96,901) and County (90,288), and in November, Camp (153,336) and Woolsey (96,949).

To give a sense of the Kincade Fire’s scale, the map below shows its approximate perimeter superimposed on the San Jose metro area. It would have covered almost all of the city, plus parts of Milpitas and Santa Clara.

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