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2020 Fire Summary

The 2020 fire season is historical. We'll cover some state level stats for the west coast with specifics on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Top 10 Fires by State/Acreage 1970-2020

California had its 6 largest fires in 2020, Oregon had 4 and Washington had 2. This distribution is disturbing at best. The California August Complex at over a million acres dwarfed any other single fire or complex on the west coast in the last 50 years. 29 out 30 fires on this list happened AFTER 2001, in a 50 year period!

California
RankYearNameAcres
12020August Complex North Zone1032539
22018Ranch410202
32020Del Puerto390647
42020Creek379801
52020Lnu Lightning Complex363219
62020Claremont-Bear318784
72012Rush315510
82020Hennessey305650
92017Thomas281790
102003Cedar270686
Oregon
RankYearNameAcres
12002Biscuit500329
22012Long Draw449015
32012Holloway448547
42020Lionshead204588
52020Beachie Creek193615
62017Chetco Bar190525
72020Holiday Farm173393
82014Saddle Draw159209
92012Miller Homestead138251
102020Riverside138151
Washington
RankYearNameAcres
12014Carlton233789
22020Pearl Hill223730
31994Tyee205813
42006Tripod Complex175141
52006Tripod174857
62015Tunk Block138369
72020Whitney127411
82017Diamond Creek126836
92015Lime Belt120527
102006Columbia Complex109259

The question is, is this an anomaly in the long term trend or is it a periodic occurrence? Let's take a look at the deviation from normal for each state to better answer that question. Below we look at all fires > 1,000 acres for each state over the last 50 years.

California Fires Deviation from Average

California Fires Deviation from Average

California Fires Deviation from Average

Top 10 Fires by State/Trail Miles burned 1970-2020

It's tough being a trail in California. California was impacted heavily by the 2020 fire season, yet only 3 of those fires, in the top 10, impacted the the PCT.

California
RankYearMilesName
1200939.13Station
2200227.24Pines
3200026.79Storrie
4202025.43Claremont-Bear
5201620.59Blue Cut
6199920.32Willow
7202019.50Bobcat
8200318.34Old
9201316.15Mountain
10200015.69Manter
Oregon
RankYearMilesName
1202019.68Lionshead
2201713.05Eagle Creek
3200312.30Booth
420179.52Blanket Creek
520179.51Blanket
620176.61Spruce Lake
720175.40Whitewater
820174.02Indian Creek
920063.98Lake George
1020083.81Middlefork
Washington
RankYearMilesName
1201711.11Norse Peak
220127.39Cascade Creek
320092.23Lemah
420030.91Needles
519880.85Falls Creek Complex
620180.82Holman
720180.39Bannock Lakes
819970.38Fireweed
919700.35Shaw
1020170.30East Crater

Total PCT Mileage Affected by Fire in 2020

Six fires crossed the trail this year damaging 81.08 miles of trail. This will account for many, many more miles of trail closures. Expect plenty of detours in 2021.

RankStateMilesName
1CA25.43Claremont-Bear
2OR19.68Lionshead
3CA19.50Bobcat
4CA15.20Lake
5CA1.25Devil
6CA0.02Pilot Rock

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