CAL FIRE Investigators Determine Cause of the Ranch Fire

Sacramento, June 6, 2019 – The Ranch Fire that burned through Colusa, Glenn, Lake and Mendocino counties, started July 27, 2018, and burned a total of 410,203 acres. The fire destroyed 280 structures and resulted in one firefighter fatality and three firefighter injuries. The Ranch Fire is currently the largest wildland fire as measured by acres burned, in California history.
CAL FIRE investigators were immediately dispatched to the Ranch Fire and began working to determine the origin and cause of the fire. After a meticulous and thorough investigation, CAL FIRE has determined that the Ranch Fire was caused bya spark or hot metal fragment landing in a receptive fuel bed. The spark or hot metal fragment came from a hammer driving a metal stake into the ground. No charges have been filed.
The fire started early afternoon north of the community of Upper Lake in MendocinoCounty. The tinder dry vegetation and Red Flag Conditions consisting of strong winds, low humidity and hot temperatures caused extreme rates of spread which caused the fire to grow very rapidly.
The Ranch Fire was one of the two fires that made up the Mendocino Complex. The other fire in the Mendocino Complex was the River Fire. Total acreage burned by the two combined fires of the Mendocino Complex was 459,123 acres.
During 2018 there were more than 7,570 wildfires that burned over 1.8million acres within the state of California.
Californians must remain vigilant and be prepared for wildfire. For more information on how to be prepared, visit www.readyforwildfire.org or www.fire.ca.gov. CAL FIRE also offers a free Ready for Wildfire app for iPhones and Android phones.
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