One year ago today — the Woolsey Fire

The fire destroyed over 1,600 structures and burned nearly 97,000 acres north of Malibu, California

CL-415 super scooper air tanker drops water Woolsey Fire

Above: A CL-415 super scooper air tanker drops water on the second day of the Woolsey Fire, November 9, 2019. stonebrookphotography

When the Woolsey Fire started at about 2 p.m. on November 8, 2018 the humidity was five percent and the wind was gusting out of the north and northeast at 40 to 50 mph. At 5:15 the next morning it jumped the 12-lane 101 freeway and before noon ran for another six miles to the Pacific Ocean, a distance of about 15 miles from the point where it started 22 hours before.

It ignited in Woolsey Canyon on the Santa Susana Field Laboratory property, a complex of industrial facilities owned by Boeing above the Simi Valley near the Los Angeles/Ventura county line in southern California.

Two other major fires had already started earlier that day, drawing some of the firefighting resources that could have been used on the Woolsey Fire. The Camp Fire started early that morning wiping out much of Paradise in northern California before noon. Then the Hill Fire ignited at about 1 p.m. south of Thousand Oaks 13 miles southwest of where the Woolsey Fire began an hour later. The Hill Fire eventually burned over 4,500 acres and required the evacuation of 17,000 residents.

An After Action Review released in October by Los Angeles County listed some of the issues that affected the management and suppression of the Woolsey Fire that destroyed over 1,600 structures and burned nearly 97,000 acres.

Progression map Woolsey Fire
Progression map of the Woolsey Fire, November 17, 2018. Perimeters produced by the Incident Management Team. Adapted by Wildfire Today.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.