California has a long history of violent, damaging wildfires. However, what the state is suffering through right now, with about two-dozen wildfires burning across the state, and out of control fires scorching tens of thousands of acres of wine country real estate, stands apart from the historical record.
At least 29 people have been killed and more than 190,000 acres burned in just the past few days, making these fires the deadliest in state history. The two deadliest fires — the Tubbs and Atlas fires in Napa and Sonoma Counties — moved so quickly, propelled by hurricane force winds, that they easily outmaneuvered firefighters.
Capt. Greg McCollum of the Santa Rosa Fire Department told The Washington Post that after 24 years on the job, he’s never seen anything like this. “This is a once-in-a-career fire,” he told the paper. “One of the other guys said it’s a once-in-two-careers fire. Well, I’m no historian, but I know a damn big fire when I see one.”