Grass Fires


Summers in Davis can be bone dry and really hot. This combination is fuel for fire, and sure enough grass fires are a very common occurrence. Unfortunately, a good number of these are caused by negligence (like smokers who flick their still-lit butts from car windows) and sometimes even mal-intent. The fires contribute to air pollution in the valley.

Thankfully they are rare (though not rare enough) in town. In 2005, a fire made its way along Highway 113 and sadly burned one house. In 2008, a fire burned in the old Putah Creek channel along the south section of the Davis Bike Loop, leaving charred trees and ground visible for the rest of the summer.

Some fire statistics are available via the City, Yolo County, and University's emergency call logs ([WWW] (select Yolo county from the list)

Major Fires in Yolo County

Year Acreage Cause Started Precipitation Source
2007 450 undetermined 05/18 9.83 in [WWW]1
2007 400 smoking 06/14 9.83 in [WWW]1
2006 500 undetermined 09/22 21.28 in [WWW]2
2005 301 undetermined 10/11 21.57 in [WWW]3
2004 39138 undetermined 10/10 16.19 in [WWW]4
2003 400 smoking 06/29 19.85 in [WWW]5
2003 1400 arson 09/03 20.53 in [WWW]5
2002 1500 undetermined 10/01 16.81 in [WWW]6
2000 380 undetermined 08/02 unk. [WWW]7
2000 400 arson 10/01 unk. [WWW]7

The listed containment date for the 2000 arson fire is 2002-07-09!

Precipitation is measured since the preceding September: thus, the 'season' of rain.

UC Davis has a [WWW]list of professors doing research related to grass fires. From studying the formation of nanoparticles of soot to planning for the evacuation of horses, a good deal of fire related research occurs on campus.

Wildfires are a commonplace threat in California, and the Department of Forestry has a specific website where they put all their [WWW]fire related information. Of particular note is the [WWW]list of current and past fires.


burnt_path_01.jpgDamage left by a grass fire near the Covell Drainage Channel. burnt_path_02.jpgAnother angle on the same burn.

Photo request: leaping flames (but please don't start them for the purposes of the photo)

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