Mapping the Royal Fire in Placer County

The Royal Fire, which ignited Sunday in Placer County, has burned an estimated 169 acres and has potential to continue growing. The Royal Fire started Sunday below Royal Gorge, on the south side of the North Fork American River, made a big run yesterday up the north slope of the river canyon. It has so … Read more

Shelly Fire Tops 3,000 Acres in Siskiyou County

The largest active fire in Northern California today, the Shelly Fire is Siskiyou County, is likely to continue burning unchecked under the current weather conditions. The Shelly Fire, which ignited Wednesday, has grown to 3,380 acres with no containment. It is burning near the city of Etna. A high pressure system parked over Northern California … Read more

Thompson Fire Live Stream July 2024 Northern California Wildfire

Zeke Lunder started this live stream covering the Thompson Fire at about 5pm on July 2nd. This wildfire started today June 2nd, 2024, in Oroville, California, which is about one hour north of Sacramento. Lunder talks about the wildfire’s position in real time. He advises everyone follow evacuation warnings and leave early. This wildfire is … Read more

Understanding fire hazard: What is fuel moisture?

If you live in an area with high wildfire hazard, understanding the factors that raise or lower fire risk on any given day can help you live in better harmony with your surroundings. In the Sacramento Valley and the Sierra Nevada foothills this week, hot and windy conditions have prompted a red flag warning for … Read more

Fire Stories: An Interview with Firefighting Veteran Jim Klump

Today we are sharing an interview with firefighting veteran Jim Klump, who is something of a legend in the wildland fire world. Jim worked as a firefighter, smokejumper, helicopter crew superintendent and district fire management officer over the course of a U.S. Forest Service career that spanned four decades. Jim was part of the first … Read more

Indigenous Fire Futures

Hey everyone, happy Thanksgiving. Today we’ve got a special feature – an interview with Bruno Seraphin and Deniss Martinez, who recently helped write a paper on indigenous fire futures which puts forward the thesis that if we are talking about giving land back to Native Americans, many communities won’t be able to thrive or manage … Read more

Forest Management Lessons From the Dixie Fire: A Conversation With Forest Service Biologist Danny Cluck

What did the 2021 Dixie Fire teach us about our public lands and how they are managed? What are we doing well, and what could we do better? In reflecting on the lessons learned from the Dixie Fire, The Lookout spoke with Danny Cluck, a biologist with U.S. Forest Service working in the Modoc, Lassen, Plumas … Read more

Five Years After the Camp Fire, Locals Find Healing Through Prescribed Fire

Five years ago this week, the Camp Fire roared through Butte County, California, torching the town of Paradise and killing 85 people in its path, becoming the deadliest wildfire in California’s recorded history. The anniversary of the fire, which ignited the morning of November 8, 2018, has prompted many in Butte County to reflect on … Read more

Exploring the Conditions that Led to the Camp Fire, Five Years Later

The fire exploded across Paradise, reducing thousands of homes to ashes within a few hours and killing 85 people who couldn’t escape the flames. At its peak, the Camp Fire, which ignited five years ago this week, on Nov. 8, 2018, spread as far as 80 football fields every minute. The Camp Fire started in … Read more

Alternative Paths Into Fire Leadership

While many of the managers overseeing prescribed burns are former firefighters, there are others who take different roads into fire leadership. Claire Monahan is on one of those alternative paths. Claire has worked in increasingly complex roles as a prescribed fire practitioner and fire scientist on the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. Claire was introduced … Read more

PG&E Hydropower Canal Collapse on Butte Creek

A hydropower flume sprung a major leak in Upper Butte Creek, above Chico, California on the 9th of August, 2023, spilling millions of gallons onto a forested hillside, and triggering a landslide which dumped over 1,000 cubic yards of rock, gravel, dirt, and clay into Butte Creek. This event caused widespread water pollution on the … Read more

Inside a Prescribed Burn

Have you ever wondered what goes into planning and executing a prescribed burning project? Join a fire monitoring crew inside a burn in the Butte County foothills, near Chico, California. The Terra Fuego Resource Foundation, from Chico, wrote the burn plan and provided the burn boss. Deer Creek Resources and the Butte County RCD developed … Read more

An Interview with Wolfy Rougle

Wolfy Rougle is Conservation Project Manager with the Butte County Resource Conservation District. She is a botanist, farmer, land tender, and illustrator. Among other things, she has written books about edible plants, and started the Butte Prescribed Burn Association (PBA). We met up with Wolfy to talk about her vision for citizen-led burning in Butte … Read more

Burning a City Park to Protect Homes From Wildfire

In Chico, California’s popular Bidwell Park, a normally brown, grassy landscape has been transformed this summer into a black, burnt one. That’s the result of a prescribed burn aimed at creating a wildfire buffer around the city. While the changed landscape may be a temporary eyesore for the thousands of people who visit the park … Read more

Will Harling on Fires in the Klamath

Will Harling and I are sort of like brothers from different mothers. Both of us were raised up by the long-haired wolves, timber fallers, mechanics, railroaders, gold miners, and other outlaws who populate the hillbilly sticks of far Northern California. First opening day fishing trip with the grown-ups, Mill Creek, California, 1985. Not surprisingly, as … Read more

Anvil Fire – 9/24/2023

Rain is coming, but will high winds spread the fire farther north before it begins in earnest? We take a quick look at IR mapping from the evening of 9/23/2023 and assess current fire spread and tactics. We also watch footage of a very low drop from a DC-10 airtanker on the NE corner of … Read more

Anvil Fire and NW California Fires – 9/23/2023

Rain is coming! In today’s video, we look at weather satellites, assess the current lay of the Anvil and SRF Complex Fires, and talk about lighting large prescribed fires out ahead of weather systems. Also, we interview Rachel Smith, Klamath National Forest Supervisor. We couldn’t get a video interview, so had to use a puppet. … Read more

Anvil Fire and NW California Fires – 9/22/2023

The Anvil Fire has been active, with drier, windier conditions over the past couple days. This fire has been burning for nearly a month just inland of Port Orford, Oregon. It spread slowly for the first several weeks, but over the past week, it has seen major growth in most directions. We look at the … Read more

Anvil Fire and NW California Fires – 9/21/2023

Strong winds have pushed the Anvil Fire around a bit in the past couple days. This fire has been burning for about 3 weeks just inland of Port Orford, Oregon. It spread slowly for the first two weeks, but in the past several days, it has seen major growth. We look at the geography of … Read more

Reimagining Our Relationship With Wildfire

Today, we’re sharing an interview we recorded in the spring with Will Harling, who works to reintroduce prescribed fire and managed wildfire in Northern California’s remote Klamath Mountains. In the interview, we discuss some of the challenges we’re facing as a result of the way wildfires are currently managed, and talk about how we might … Read more

Anvil Fire and NW California Fires – 9/17/2023

The Anvil Fire has been burning for about 3 weeks just inland of Port Orford, Oregon. It spread slowly for the first two weeks, but in the past several days, it has seen major growth. We look at the geography of the fire, and review detailed maps of its recent movements. We also look at … Read more

Anvil Fire and NW California Fires – 9/16/2023

The Anvil Fire has been burning for about 3 weeks just inland of Port Orford, Oregon. It spread slowly for the first two weeks, but in the past several days, it has seen major growth. We look at the geography of the fire, and review detailed maps of its recent movements. We also look at … Read more

Anvil Fire – 9/15/2023

The Anvil Fire has been burning for about 3 weeks just inland of Port Orford, Oregon. It spread slowly for the first two weeks, but in the past several days, it has seen major growth. We look at the geography of the fire, and review detailed maps of its recent movements.   ” Thanks always … Read more

Complexities of Indirect Firefighting – NW California Fires, 9/14/2023

In mid-August, 2023, lightning ignited many fires across NW California. Several became large, but most have stayed fairly small by modern standards. Rain knocked most of these fires down over the first few days of September, but even before then, the majority of the fire effects on these fires were low-moderate severity and ecologically beneficial. … Read more

NW California Fires – 9/13/2023 Infrared Interpretation

Not much new spread to report this morning on NW Ca. fires. After the rains 2 weeks ago, technical specialists on the incident management teams in NW California said we shouldn’t expect things to dry out enough to burn until right about now. In addition to relatively mild conditions, one factor affecting the lack of … Read more

Barely Moving – NW California Fires 9/12/2023

Over the past 3 weeks, lightning has ignited many fires in NW California and Western Oregon and several have become large. Rain knocked most of these fires down over the first few days of September, and since then, though conditions have been slowly drying, there has been very little active fire spread. This video looks … Read more

Thoughts on Urban Fires and How We Assess Risk

Our most destructive fires often occur in places most people don’t think of as being ‘wildlands’, but people from Paradise, Santa Rosa, Boulder County, and Lahaina have learned the hard way, living in an urban environment doesn’t mean your place isn’t at risk of burning down. This video talks about the difference between wildfires and … Read more