The Carr Fire Event of 2018: Not The First Major Wild Fire Event in Shasta County

Carr Fire Pipe

  (Photo Credits: Craig Clements)


Before the Carr Fire event occurred in Shasta County on July 26th, 2018, another significant event occurred on the Eiler Fire on August 2nd, 2014. Both of these events happened late in the afternoon-evening hours approximately (1700 - 2000).  Both of these significant events in Shasta County had similar extreme fire behavior and rapid fire growth.  The year of 2017 was California's most destructive fire season on record according to CAL FIRE. Now 2018 appears to be no different with a total acreage burned at an estimated 460,000 acres.  California has endured an unprecedented and catastrophic few years during what some consider our new normal.  Historically, our fire season is during the summer months, however with this extreme fire behavior so early, maybe we should recognize that California no longer has a fire season.

As of today, August 4th, 2018, the Carr Fire is the sixth most destructive wildland fire in California history based on acres burned and structures destroyed.  A cataclysmic firestorm is also occurring in Northern California off Highway 20 near Potter Valley, northeast of Ukiah started on July 27, 2018. The Ranch Fire and River Fire, both part of the Mendocino Complex has engulfed over 229, 006 acres and destroyed over 55 residences with 3,529 fire personnel assigned.  The Ferguson Fire started on July 13th, 2018, on the Sierra National Forest near Yosemite National Park, has consumed over 81, 699 acres with 2,792 fire personnel assigned.  An unfathomable 460,000 acres have burned in California between these campaign fires and fire season has just started.

Due to the multiple wildland fires burning across the entire State of California, resources are stretched extremely thin and now our master mutual aid system has requested additional resources from Australia and New Zealand.  On Monday, August 6th, 150 international firefighters will arrive to assist the State of California with the firestorm of 2018.  The California National Guard has mobilized over 800 soldiers and the 146th Airlift Wing to help with the firefight.  At least 17 States have answered the call and have deployed resources to California including as far as New Jersey.  Over 14,000 firefighters currently deployed across California on 17 massive wildfires.

The Carr Fire incident has consumed over 141,825 acres and is approximately 41% contained according to the latest CAL FIRE press release.  This major event has devastated the towns of French Gulch, Keswick, Old Shasta, Happy Valley, Igo, Ono and the City of Redding.  These communities endured catastrophic damage with approximately 1,073 structures, 14 commercial structures and 492 outbuildings destroyed.  Currently, there are over 4,500 firefighters entrenched battling on the front lines. The above statistics are incomprehensible; however, the most significant impact from the Carr Fire was the loss of life to both civilians and the firefighting community.  As a community, we will mourn the innocent and precious lives lost together and find a way to rise from the ashes like the Phoenix.


Carr Fire Event:

Location: Western Shasta County 

Redding, California 

Date of Event: July 26, 2018

Approximate Time: 19:30 PDT


Eiler Fire Event:

Location: Eastern Shasta County 

Lassen National Forest 

Near Hat Creek / HWY 299

Date of Event: August 2, 2014 

Approximate Time: 18:00 PDT


Video released by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shows the fire tornado event in Redding, California from various viewpoints.  Carr Fire Tornado Event


Carr Fire Pictures 

The Carr Fire Pyrocumulus

(Photo Credits: Jim Mackensen)


Carr Fire Plume Washington Post

(Photo Credits: Josh Edelson/AFP/gettyimages)


Dr. Neal Lareau

(Photo Credits: Dr. Neal Lareau)


Inside the Redding Fire Vortex

(Photo Credits: Lorena Elebee / @latimesgraphics)


NWS Sacramento


 (Photo Credits: NWS Sacramento)

EF Ratings

(Photo Credits: National Weather Service)

Explanation of EF-Scale Ratings


Top20 Destruction

(Photo Credits: CAL FIRE)


Eiler Fire Pictures

Eiler Fire and Bald Fire

(Photo Credits: Ryan Albaugh)


Elier Fire Picture from Redding Fire Department

(Photo Credits: Redding Fire Department)


Elier Fire Redding Fire Department Engine

(Photo Credits: KRCR)


Carr Fire Resources

A Rare 'Fire Tornado' Devastated a California Neighborhood. Here's What It Was Like Seeing the 'Apocalyptic' Aftermath

California’s Carr Fire may have unleashed the most intense fire tornado ever observed in the U.S.

Fire Whirl In Carr Fire Equal To EF-3 Tornado

What the Carr Fire vortex or "firenado" looks and sounds like

143-mph 'fire tornado' that cut a path of destruction is an ominous sign of the future

Top 20 Most Destructive California Wildfires

CAL FIRE Carr Fire Incident Information

Carr Fire Entrapment Fatalities (2018)

Green Sheet 18-CA-SHU-007808 Burn Over Fatalities

BLUE SHEET 18-CA-SHU-007808 Burn Over Fatalities

Smith Fatality Notification

Stoke Fatality Notification



Eiler Fire Resources

After the Eiler Fire Video

Inside the Eiler Fire Video

Bald and Eiler Fires - Fire Behavior

Wildfire Today - Eiler Fire Archives

CAL FIRE Eiler Fire Incident Information


Additional Major Incidents in California

U.S. Forest Service Ferguson Incident Information

CAL FIRE Ranch Fire (Mendocino Complex) Incident Information




(Photo Credits: OES) 



(Photo Credits: CAL FIRE)



Chris Baker has over 10 years of experience in volunteer, combination, and career, fire departments in California.  Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command Company Officer.  He is a California State Fire Training certified Fire Officer, Driver-Operator, Fire Instructor, and Lead Firefighter I Certification Evaluator.  Chris is a Fire Science Instructor in the California Community College System.  Chris is a Volunteer Advocate Regional Manager, Region IX (CA, NV, AZ, HI) for the Everyone Goes Home Program through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.  His hometown is Redding, California.

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