Wildfire Causes Are Varied

Man made is one thing that can mean more than one thing. If you've been to California recently.

Forest fires

I was sort of there recently, if last year counts, which with their weather it sort of does. California has had extreme weather — either drought or floods — since 2012. This is part of a long term trend due to global warming.

Just look at the terrain, it's very dry and wildfire fuel is in abundance.

Fuel means fire, and when you have a situation like they do in CA a fire can breakout anywhere at anytime. And they can travel a lot further faster with a distributed fuel source. Then take into account a drastic lack of rain – it is humidity and not rain that kills fires – the hot and dry conditions, and it being a state of over 30 million people.

You have a fire hazard.

Most of the California wildfires seem to be human-caused - not making a global warming statement here though you can see it that was as well. But while that is the source that causes them, it doesn't mean that they are all deliberate. Actually that is rarer than you may think. For example chains dragging across the dry ground can ignite grass and other dry vegetation. This is not usually a deliberately done. But more commonly campfires and shooting with the wrong ammo are to blame. Another cause is deliberate, arson.

CA wildfires

CA wildfires

Now, I read that Camp Fire was started by a power line that fell. Even if it happened on the same day. It's almost certainly a coincidence.

Current reports suggest that electrical equipment failures caused both of the fires. The equipment belonged to different companies:

PG&E in the North
SCE in the South

PG&E has been found to have been the cause of some of the high-profile fires in the last ten years. They're pretty notorious for spending the bare minimum on maintain their equipment and not replacing faulty lines until they fail and cause a problem.

Santa Ana Winds

Another issue they're facing right now are the Santa Ana Winds which can blow over 40 mph. Wind, low humidity, hot weather, and fuel are a perfect maelstrom for a massive fire.

Right now it's the beginning of the off season for Western fire, so a lot of the agencies who send over crews in the summer have them tied up elsewhere.

CA wildfires