Katie Dowd, SFGATEJuly 18, 2021Updated: July 19, 2021 3:28 p.m.
U.S. Forest Service firefighters Chris Voelker, left, and Kyle Jacobson monitor the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, burning in Plumas National Forest. Noah Berger/AP
With at least a dozen wildfires, some over 100,000 acres, burning in California right now, it’s hard to keep track of exactly what’s going on.
An interactive map maintained by the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation (you can also find it hosted by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources) makes things a bit easier to visualize. Active and recently contained fires are shown, as well as areas that have a red flag warning (those are the purple areas). The map is not meant to be used for evacuations or real-time threats. For that, you should look to your local government’s alert system or Cal Fire. https://arcg.is/Kyue8https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.472.0_en.html#goog_1071104651https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.472.0_en.html#goog_1740255268https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.472.0_en.html#goog_143373040https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.472.0_en.html#goog_1770773267
The biggest and most active fires right now are the Beckwourth Complex in the Plumas National Forest (105,348 acres), Tamarack Fire near Markleeville (23,078 acres) and Dixie Fire near Paradise (30,074 acres).
The Beckwourth Complex Fire 50 miles north of Tahoe is the largest wildfire of the year so far in California, and on Thursday, it became the state’s first megafire of 2021. That’s a wildfire surpassing 100,000 acres.
Megafires used to be rare, but they’re becoming more and more common, especially in California, which has been hit repeatedly by extreme weather events, including heat waves, drought and dry lightning. These humongous fires were rare in California before 2003 — but 17 of the 20 largest fires in the state’s history have occurred since then, according to state data.
You can also find more information on the current wildfire situation from the Cal Fire incident page.