The 2017 California wildfire season has been the most destructive and one of the costliest on record (predicted to cost at least $180 billion dollars), with multiple wildfires burning across California. So far, more than 8,750 fires have burned an area of over 5,500 square kilometres.
Following severe wildfires in October, which destroyed nearly 9,000 structures and killed 44 people, strong Santa Ana winds in December triggered a new wave of wildfires. Santa Ana winds are strong, extremely dry down-slope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California – they are known for the hot dry weather that they bring which, along with the high wind speeds create dangerous fire weather conditions.
These wildfires include the massive 'Thomas Fire' in Ventura and Santa Barbera Counties which has burned for over 2 weeks and has so-far burned over 1,000 km², destroyed 1,300 buildings and structures and forced 100,000 people to evacuate. It is the largest wildfire of the 2017 California wildfire season, and is expected to burn until January with little rain forecast - potentially making it the largest ever wildfire in modern California history.