The fire has already charred 232,000 hectares of land, destroying an estimated 5,700 homes and buildings, killing 22 people and burning more than 5,000 buildings. The fire is currently raging in wine country Northern California, including Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. A red flag warning has been issued for the Bay Area, which begins Sunday when the strongest offshore winds of the season could spark new wildfires, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The fire brigade says it is spread over 20 hectares and has a potential of up to 100 hectares.
The National Fire Prevention Association estimates that the fire caused $23 billion in property damage, including between $1.5 billion and $2.2 billion in the city of Oakland alone.
Damage in Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley alone would amount to about $2.5 million. However, it is also commonly referred to as the Oakland Hills Firestorm or Oakland Hills Firestorm. About $300 million of that is due to the fire, with the other $1.2 billion to $3.5 billion in property damage.
Oakland City firefighters carry fire fighting equipment during the Oakland Hills Firestorm in Oakland, California, U.S., July 2, 2010. The Oakland Hills fire, which starred Robert Downey Jr., Robert De Niro and John Travolta in the film "Firestorm," is based on the Berkeley Hills fire in Alameda County, California, and the San Francisco Bay Area. It includes radio broadcasts of firefighters at the scene as well as interviews with firefighters from the fire department and other agencies.
The monthly average in Oakland was 121, which was unhealthy for the vulnerable group, as a total of 150,000 acres burned. Standard homeowner insurance can cover up to $1 million in damage from the Oakland Hills fire and other fires in the Bay Area. Oakland has behaved similarly since the Berkeley Hills fire in 2009, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In the hills between Oakland and Berkeley, howling winds tore down branches, toppled trees, and damaged outdoor restaurants and dining tents, but the worst fears of the flames never materialized. Stronger and less wind was observed on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, where forest fires are being started.
Smoke from the fires in the wine country has worsened air quality in the Bay Area, particularly in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose. While most of the deaths and destruction occurred around the city of San Diego, there were a number of fires in cities across the Bay, including Oakland. The area was declared a high-fire zone after the tunnel fire in Oakland Hills destroyed more than 3,500 homes, according to the US Forest Service.
Five people have been killed and three injured in a helicopter crash off the California coast. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said two soldiers were killed and three others were injured in the helicopter crash near the California coast.
More than a dozen smaller fires broke out Sunday night in Northern California but were quickly extinguished by fire crews, including several in Shasta County that burned more than 400 acres. A helicopter crashed in Southern California on Sunday, setting off a small bushfire (see more from January 26, 2020). Emergency services respond to a helicopter crash that sparked the Brush Fire in Southern California. The largest wildfire in California history, which left no structures lost, broke out northeast of Santa Rosa on Sunday, burning 36,807 acres and killing 22 people.
Oakland is facing a similar fire threat as the state continues to face the worst drought in its history. In 1923, a catastrophic, wind-driven wildfire broke out on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, and in 1991, wildfires burned thousands of homes in the Oakland Hills, killing 25 people and causing millions of dollars in damage.
Although the November storms limited the extent of the fire danger in Northern California, very little rain was falling in parts of the Bay Area and the Sacramento Valley, and the risk of large fires remains high. While the wildfires between October 8 and 9, 2017 were severe but not unprecedented for the region, there has been a pattern of wildfires in the Oakland Hills in recent years that occurred between May and October, when conditions were particularly hot and dry. In fact, Oakland has seen wildfires driven by Diablo winds in recent years, most recently in August and September 2016, and there are signs that they will continue to occur this year, though not as frequently as in previous years. Since the late 1990s, there have been more than a dozen large wildfires in the Oakland Hills, which have caused thousands of acres of damage and, in some cases, killed people.
Firefighters from nine Bay Area counties - Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Sonoma, Napa, Santa Clara, Mendocino and San Joaquin - have been battling the San Francisco fire since Wednesday. The Oakland Hills Fire, the largest wildfire ever recorded in California, which has ravaged more than 400,000 acres, is currently ranked third, behind the San Bernardino and Santa Rosa fires. It is currently one of the ten largest wildfires in the state's history in terms of acreage and damage, and the second most destructive wildfire ever. So far this year, more than 8,100 wildfires have killed 29 people, destroyed 7,500 buildings and destroyed more than 7,000 buildings, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.