2016 Incident Archive

A summary of all 2016 incidents, including those managed by CAL FIRE and other partner agencies.

669,534 Acres

Estimated Acres Burned

6,954 Incidents

Number of Wildfires

6 Fatalities

Confirmed Loss of Life

1,274 Structures

Structures Destroyed

2016 Fire Season

In 2016, over 6,900 fires burned an area of over 669,000 acres across California, Climatologists had predicted an extreme version of El Niño, known as a Super El Niño, to occur during the winter of 2015–16. Although the Pacific Ocean’s warming water had been expected to bring strong storms to parts of the southwestern United States, actual precipitation totals generally underperformed those expectations. Early in 2016, The National Interagency Fire Center predicted that conditions from May through at least August would put much of the western United States in above-normal wildfire danger. In June, the United States Forest Service estimated that over 26 million trees had died across 760,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This brought the number of dead trees to over 66 million during the past four years of drought. On August 15, the National Interagency Fire Center showed the state leading the nation in the quantity, size and intensity of wildfires. A day later, on August 16, San Bernardino County announced that nearly 85,000 people were evacuated because of the Blue Cut Fire near Cajon Pass.