Over 2,500,000 People Ordered to Evacuate in 2018

We’ve compiled a list of the 35 natural disasters in 2018 that forced people in the United States to evacuate their homes and areas of residence. While exact numbers are unknown, these disasters—wildfires, hurricanes and mudslides—resulted in an estimated 2,583,135 people facing evacuation orders. These are conservative estimates; the actual number is likely much higher. 

We talk a lot about disaster readiness. It’s why we created the disaster-readiness Phoenix Kit and why it’s so important to us to keep you informed (see our Six Ps of Readiness). More than 2.5 million people in 2018 alone were ordered to evacuate their homes, many at a moment’s notice. Our intention is not that these numbers scare or shock, but rather that they encourage more awareness and action toward readiness, which can ultimately minimize the negative consequences of an unlikely emergency event.

Evacuations for 2018 Natural Disasters

January 1: Thomas Fire, Ventura and Santa Barbara, CA. Burned approximately 281,893 acres, making it the largest wildfire in modern California history at the time; over 104,607 people were evacuated.

January 9: Mudslides, Montecito, CA. Heavy rains triggered massive runoff, deep mud and debris; 21,000 people were evacuated.

June 1: 416 Fire & Burro Fire Complex, Durango, CO. Burned a combined total of over 57,000 acres; over 1,300 homes and businesses were evacuated.

June 11: Soap Lake Fire, Grant County, WA. Burned a total of 2,063 acres; about 50 residents were under evacuation warnings.

June 17: Upper Colony Fire, Smith Valley, NV. Burned more than 1,180 acres; 40-50 homes and about 200 people were affected.

June 21: Boxcar Fire, Jack Knife Fire & Graham Fire, Central OR. Lightning-caused wildfires burned over 25,000 combined acres; Graham Fire forced at least 200 home evacuations.

June 23: Pawnee Fire, Lake County CA. Large wildfire in Northern CA burned about 8,200 acres and required roughly 3,000 people to evacuate.

June 27: Spring Creek Fire, Fort Garland, CO. Human-caused fire destroyed more than 130 homes and forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 residents.

June 28: Weston Pass Fire, Granite, CO. Lightning-caused wildfire burned 13,023 acres and resulted in mandatory and voluntary evacuations (numbers unknown). 

June 29: Waverly Fire, San Joaquin County, CA. Burned 12,300 acres; the entire town of Milton, CA was ordered to evacuate. 

June 30: County Fire, Sacramento, CA. Burned over 88,000 acres; evacuations of at least 2,500 people were ordered.

July 1: Dollar Ridge Fire, Ashley National Forest, UT. Burned 68,869 acres; 1,100 people and 200-300 homes were evacuated.

July 3: Lake Christine Fire, Basalt and Carbondale, CO. Fire (believed to be human caused) burned a total of 12,588 acres; 500 homes were under evacuation orders.

July 5: Klamathon Fire, CA-OR border region. Fire burned over 38,000 acres; more than 1,500 people evacuated.

July 6: Valley Fire, San Bernardino National Forest, CA.  Wildfire burned 1,350 acres; evacuation orders were in place for all of Forest Falls (population 1,102).

July 8: Georges Fire, Inyo County, CA. Fire caused by lightning burned 2,883 acres; residents of the Whitney Portal community were evacuated (number unknown).

July 13: Ferguson Fire, Sierra National Forest, Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park, CA. Wildfire burned 96,901 acres in mostly inaccessible wildland areas before containment; 6,500 people were ordered to evacuate.

July 22: Substation Fire, Wasco County, OR. Fire burned more than 50,000 acres; more than 900 homes were in evacuation areas.

July 23: Carr Fire, Shasta and Trinity Counties, CA. Fire burned 229,651 acres, destroyed at least 1,604 structures (at least 1,077 homes), and was the seventh-most destructive fire in California history; 38,000 people were evacuated.

July 25: Cranston Fire, Riverside County, CA. Arson-started fire burned 13,139 acres; over 7,000 people were evacuated.

July 27: Whaleback Fire, Susanville, CA. Burned more than 16,000 acres; 1,000 people evacuated. 

July 27: Mendocino Complex Fire, Northern CA. The largest recorded fire complex in California history burned 459,123 acres; more than 10,000 residents were in mandatory evacuation areas. 

July 28: Goose Creek and China Jim Fire Complex, UT-NV border area. Wildfires burned more than 127,059 acres; approximately 100 residents in threatened areas were urged to evacuate.  

July 29: Perry Fire, Reno, NV. Fire burned 51,400 acres; 20 homes were ordered to evacuate.

August 1: South Valley Fire, Wasco County, OR. Human-caused fire burned over 20,000 acres; 400 people were evacuated and 100 homes were threatened.

August 1: Donnell Fire, Stanislaus National Forest, CA. Fire burned over 36,000 acres; an unknown number of local residents were under mandatory evacuation orders. 

August 6: Holy Fire, Cleveland National Forest, CA. Wildfire (suspected arson) burned 23,136 acres; more than 21,400 people and 7,449 homes were placed under mandatory evacuation.

August 22: Mountain Fire, Shasta County, CA. Wildfire burned over 600 acres; more than 4,000 people evacuated and 1,100 homes were threatened.

August 24 and September 6: The Bald Mountain and Pole Creek Fires (respectively), Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, UT. Two fires began separately and then burned together, a total of 120,851 acres. Over 2,000 homes in Elk Ridge & Woodland Hills communities were evacuated (combined population 5,620).

August 31: Hurricane Florence, the Carolinas. Hurricane made landfall in North Carolina and caused extensive damage; more than 1.4 million people were under mandatory evacuation orders and up to 1 million evacuated (20,000 to Red Cross & community shelters). 

September 5: Delta Fire, Shasta County, CA. Wildfire burned over 63,000 acres; 300 people evacuated.

October 7: Hurricane Michael, FL, GA & the Carolinas. The first Category 5 hurricane to strike the contiguous United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992; 500,000 people faced mandatory evacuation orders and 180,000 evacuated (60,000 to emergency shelters). 

November 8: Camp Fire, Paradise, CA. The deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history, resulting in at least 85 civilian deaths. It burned 153,336 acres and forced 52,000 people to evacuate.

November 8: Woolsey Fire, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, CA. Wildfire burned 96,949 acres; more than 295,000 people evacuated.

| Photo by Shashank Sahay