2017 was a record year for wildfires in California - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

2017 was a record year for wildfires in California

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Firefighters were kept busy for the start of the new year with two small brush fires on Tuesday.  

One broke out in Julian late in the morning, destroying a storage shed and spreading to dry brush before Cal Fire crews contained it.    

Another was reported in La Mesa in the afternoon; fire crews mounted an aggressive response and contained it within a half an hour.    

A woman, seen running from the scene, was later taken in by deputies for questioning. 

California is coming off a record year for destructive wildfires; setting records for the number of fires and the acreage consumed.  

Throughout last year, Cal Fire battled 7,117 fires for 505,956 acres; including federal land, that total jumps to 9,133 fires for 1,248,606 acres. 

To put that in perspective, on average Cal Fire tackles just over 4800 fires a year for fewer than 203,000 acres. 

These newly released numbers also do not include the massive Thomas Fire that firefighters are still working to fully contain. 

It has consumed over 281,600 acres, making it the largest wildfire in California history.  

On Tuesday, President Trump declared a major disaster in response to this and other major wildfires that plagued the state. It was declared for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, as well as Los Angeles and San Diego, which just last month saw the devastating Lilac Fire. 

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen toured the Thomas Fire by air, earlier Tuesday.  

"You will continue to have the full response of the federal government," she said. "This is an important step towards recovery." 

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