CALIFORNIA IN BRIEF : SACRAMENTO : Record-Low Acreage Lost in Fire Season
Fires in the 1991 season burned the fewest acres across California in recorded history, fire officials said Friday. Wildfires blackened just 24,698 acres that are protected by the California Department of Forestry. That is less acreage than in a single fire during many of California’s fire sieges. The highest loss came in 1945, when 431,734 acres burned, according to the records that date back to 1944. The 1991 toll is about 80% below the five-year average of 118,738 acres annually. It is even well below the previous record low of 37,222 acres set in 1963. But there were plenty of fires in 1991. Firefighters say that between favorable weather conditions and quick responses, the blazes were kept small--except in the Berkeley Hills fire that killed 25 people, and destroyed more than 3,000 dwelling units.