California Wildfires

California Wildfires

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Updated Sep 17, 2020 at 03:13AM EDT by ohmyjosh.

Added Dec 06, 2017 at 05:17PM EST by Adam.

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Wildfires in California are seasonal fires that typically break out from spring to late fall in the uninhabited forests across the state of California, which can result in destruction of properties and fatalities of varying scales. While seasonal wildfires of varying degrees have been observed for decades, due to the dry, windy and high-temperature weather conditions in the region, the growing scale of its destruction has been also attributed to the increasing construction projects in rural burn areas and worsening signs of climate change.



Notable Fires

2017 Los Angeles Wildfires

The 2017 season was one of the most destructive wildfire season on record, with a total count of 9,133 fires burning 1.38 million acres (5,590.35 km2) across the state, destroying nearly 10,000 structures and resulting in the deaths of 47 people, including two firefighters. In early December 2017, the wildfires began moving through southern California, some affecting the Bel Air, Brentwood, and Mandeville Canyon neighborhoods of Los Angeles.[1] There were four separate fires: The Thomas fire, the Creek fire, the Rye fire, and the Skirball fire. The Skirball fire is the one which effected Los Angeles area. The fires contributed to one of the worst fire seasons in California on record. That morning, @WLV_investor tweeted a video of his commute in California showing the fire, gaining over 344,000 retweets and 593,000 likes (shown below).

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency for the city, and gave mandatory evacuation orders for over 150,000 residents of the city.[2] Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's house was damaged in the Skirball fire.[3] That day, Twitter user @dorseyshaw tweeted a parody of @WLV_investor's video, making the sign on the highway read "Now entering 2018," gaining over 96,000 retweets and 194,000 likes (shown below).

As of December 7th, the fires have destroyed over 300 homes, businesses and other buildings.[4]

2018 California Wildfires

The wildfires in 2018 has been one of the most destructive seasons in state history. Between January and November, a total of 7,579 fires swept across 1,667,855 acres (6,749.57 km2), the largest number of burned acreage recorded in a California fire season. In August 2018, a series of large-scale wildfires erupted across northern California. In November 2018, another round of massive wildfires erupted across the state (Woolsey Fire, Camp Fire), which has thus far claimed the lives of 42 people and destroyed over 7,000 structures (as of November 13th).

Online Reactions

On November 9th, Redditor 19djafoj02 submitted a photograph titled "This wildfire is raging in California right now" to /r/natureismetal,[16] where it garnered upwards of 16,300 points (93% upvoted) and 680 comments within four days (shown below).

On November 11th, Redditor bananabrownie uploaded a photograph titled "Firefighter from the Paradise, CA wildfire finds missing dog, helps reunite with family" to /r/aww (shown below). Over the next 48 hours, the post gained over 25,600 points (97% upvoted) and 230 comments.

On November 12th, Redditor Pidiotping posted a photograph of a firefighter standing in front of a wildfire to /r/photoshopbattles,[17] where several edited variations of the picture were submitted in the comments (shown below).

Paradise Aftermath Video

On November 9th, 2018, YouTuber Matthew Strausbaugh uploaded footage taken by California resident Greg Woodcox, featuring video recordings from the town Paradise after the fire came through (shown below). In the video, Woodcox discovers the charred remains of cars and skeletons of people who died in the fire. The following day, Redditor fishfoot614 posted the video to /r/publicfreakout,[14] where it accumulated upwards of 11,700 points (97% upvoted) and 1,400 comments within 72 hours.

"Nobody made it. These people all got burned out. I was right down below them here. My friend, you can see he’s dead, and his mother."

On November 13th, The Daily Dot[15] published an article titled "California man criticized for gruesome YouTube video of wildfire aftermath."

Paradise Escape Video

On November 9th, 2018, The Guardian uploaded footage of a family driving through smoke and flames to escape the fire in Paradise.

Antifa Conspiracy Theory

On November 14th, 2018, radio host Bill Mitchell posted a tweet[18] asking if Antifa was "setting the California wildfires". Two hours later, Mitchell several follow-up tweets accusing Antifa of being a "domestic terrorist organization" and speculating that the fires were set to put forth new regulations to prevent climate change (shown below).

Bill Mitchell @mitchellvii Is #Antifa setting the California wildfires? Bill Mitchell @mitchellvii No one knows who set the "Camp Fire" in California. One distinct possibllity is domestidc terrorism #Antifa is a domestic terrorist organization. As such, the question must be asked. I don't expect #Antifa to like it. Bill Mitchell @mitchellvii California is no drier now than it has ever been. There is no more flammable brush this year than last. So why all of these devastating fires the same year the Democrats STOLE the House? Get ready for BIG Climate Change Legislation using these fires as the premise. Bill Mitchell @mitchellvii Is it a coincidence this HUGE outbreak of California wildfires is happening the same year Democrats steal the House? I lived in California for 15 years 20 years ago. It was a tinderbox then and NOTHING like this happened.

In response to the tweet, many mocked Mitchell for posing the question without any evidence (shown below). On November 15th, several Newsweek[19] and The Daily Dot[20] published articles about Mitchell's tweets.

Christoph @Halalcoholism In the vast pantheon of Trumpkin conspiracy theories, "Antifa started the California wildfires so Democrats could perform well at the midterms" is at least top 20. Count DankulaX @CountDankulaTV I'm failing to see how Antifa would benefit from that. Unless mother nature is a nazi?

"Rake News"

On November 18th, 2018, Donald Trump blamed forest mismanagement on the spread of the California wildfires, while praising Finland for the way it handles forest. He stated, "They spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning, they don't have any problems," implying that Finnish people's raking helped prevent forest fire. He said this information was related to him by Finnish president Saul Niinisto the previous week, though Niinisto has no memory of telling Trump about raking.[21]

Finnish people joked about Trump's comment by showing pictures of themselves raking, sarcastically bragging that they were helping prevent forest fires. These tweets featured hashtags playing with popular Trump phrases like "Rake News" and "Rake America Great Again." For example, a tweet by @TravelWithXtina gained over 2,300 retweets and 9,100 likes (shown below, left). User @pyryluminen posted a tweet that gained over 19,000 retweets and 62,000 likes (shown below, right). Jokes were covered by Daily Dot[22] and Twitter Moments.[23]

Kristiina Vahvaselkä @TravelWithXtina Follow Greetings from #Finland! Just finished raking leaves here. #RakeAmericaGreatAgain #RakeTheForest #Trump #SundayFunday #SundayMorning #rakenews #CaliforniaWildFires #ClimateChange #haravointi #metsänhoito #ilmastonmuutos #Suomi 8:44 AM -18 Nov 2018 Pyry Luminen @pyryluminen Follow Just an ordinary day in the Finnish forest ~ lhan normipäivä suomalaisessa metsässä #Trump #forest #fresafety #raking orestry #Finland #Finnish #CaliforniaFire #RakingAmericaGreatAgain #rakingtheforest #Suomi #haravointi #metsäpalot #raking leaves 10:13 AM-18 Nov 2018

Search Interest

External References

[1] New York Times – California Fires Enter the Heart of Los Angeles

[2] Uproxx – Watch Surreal Video Footage Of An Apocalyptic Wildfire Consuming The Los Angeles Hills

[3] Variety – Rupert Murdoch’s Estate Damaged by California Wildfire

[4] New York Times – Southern California Fires Live Updates: More Areas Under Siege as Wind Gains Strength

[5] NBC LA via Wayback Machine2017 California Wildfires in Photos

[6] NBC LA via Wayback Machine – 2018 California Wildfires in Photos

[7] Wikipedia – Category:Wildfires in California by year

[8] Wikipedia – 2017 California Wildfires

[9] Wikipedia – 2018 California Wildfires

[10] Reddit – What’s going on with the california fires?

[11] Reddit (/r/conspiracy) – My working theory on some of the California wildfires

[12] Reddit (/r/conspiracy) – Debunking the California Wildfire conspiracy

[13] Forbes via Wayback Machine – The Viral Picture Of 'Wildfires' Beneath Clouds Is Actually A Hawaiian Sunset

[14] Reddit – /r/publicfreakout

[15] The Daily Dot – California man criticized for gruesome YouTube video of wildfire aftermath

[16] Reddit – /r/natureismetal

[17] Reddit – /r/photoshopbattles

[18] Twitter – @mitchellvii

[19] Newsweek – What Started California Wildfires?

[20] The Daily Dot – Trump conspiracy theorists are blaming antifa for California wildfires

[21] Is.Fi – Trump told Niinistö revealed raking being crucial part of fire prevention in Finland – The Finnish president says he never mentioned raking

[22] Daily Dot – Finland memes Trump for suggesting ‘raking’ stops wildfires

[23] Twitter Moments – Finnish people are spreading 'rake news' after Trump's forest comments

Recent Videos 5 total

Recent Images 28 total

Top Comments


in reply to A Mr Mime

Legislation preventing controlled burns because the dumbasses who live here don't understand that they're beneficial. They see a tree burning and they think it's a crime against nature. It's incomprehensible to a lot of people that intentionally burning some areas can result in future fires being more easily contained.

Even so, I'm not sure why the fires spontaneously start. Combination of extremely dry weather and heat waves, I'd guess.


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