Mosquito Fire Is Named California’s Largest Wildfire in 2022 

by Alex Falls

The Mosquito Fire is still raging through parts of northern California. The wildfire has become so fierce, that it’s now the largest to burn in the state of California this year after growing to more than 63,000 acres Wednesday night.

The Mosquito Fire ignited Sept. 6 and ballooned to just over 100 square miles Thursday in Placer and El Dorado counties. The massive blaze surpassed the size of the McKinney Fire that burned more than 93 square miles in California, in July and August.

Fueled by critically dry vegetation, the growing blaze put over 9,200 structures at risk as of Thursday, Cal Fire reported. So far, the blaze has destroyed over 70 structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Smoke settled back into some drainages because of easing winds starting Wednesday night into Thursday morning. But the majority of the fire area had good humidity recovery. “Firefighters continued working throughout the night, patrolling, mopping up, and securing control lines around the south and east sides of the fire,” the agency said in its Thursday morning update.

The Record-Setting Mosquito Fire Continues to Roar

While the blaze calmed down over the weekend, strong winds cleared up smoke and created fresh oxygen for active fire behavior Tuesday night. Containment dropped from 25% Tuesday to 20% on Wednesday.

The fire has burned through 64,159 acres. Containment remains at 20% as of Thursday morning. Fire behavior on the east end is expected to increase as winds push the fire into critically dry fuel. “We’re ready for an absolute blowup out here,” said Jonathan Pangburn, a fire behavior analyst with Cal Fire, during the US Forest Service’s Wednesday briefing. “It doesn’t need a lot of wind.”

One firefighter has been injured with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Cal Fire information officer Scott McLean.

The Mosquito Fire has surpassed the McKinney Fire as the largest wildfire in California this year. The McKinney fire has burned over 60,000 acres in Siskiyou County and is currently 99% contained.

On Tuesday, the raging fire came dangerously close to hitting the town of Foresthill in Placer County. Five crews battled the flames as the fire burned through the canyon and destroyed three businesses on the south side of the town. Just across from the local high school.

“This town was in danger and they did a great job protecting it,” said Bud Englund, a Mosquito Fire public information officer.

Fire crews couldn’t save the property belonging to the three tree removal businesses. The flames charred more than a dozen vehicles and several structures on the property. But crews kept the fire contained to the property.

“There were contingency plans built in place just in case that did happen and the contingency lines held with the efforts of the firefighters working in and around the structures,” Englund said.