Last reviewed on October 9, 2018

California Wildfire Emissions Estimates


Fire has served a natural function in California's diverse ecosystems for millennia, such as facilitating germination of seeds for certain tree species, replenishing soil nutrients, clearing dead biomass to make room for living trees to grow, and reducing accumulation of fuel that lead to high-intensity wildfires. However, fire also impacts human health and safety, and releases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other air pollutants. The GHGs emitted by fire are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Fire releases biomass carbon into the atmosphere in the form of CO2. Methane is emitted due to incomplete combustion of biomass, and N2O is a product of combustion. In recent years the frequency and magnitude of wildfires have been prolific across California. In an effort to contextualize the GHG emissions from wildfires, the documents below present an estimate of the emissions from 2000-2017

Preliminary Estimates of Fire Emissions, 2000-2017:


For general questions regarding the GHG inventory for forests and other lands, please contact: Anny Huang, Manager, Emission Inventory Analysis Section, Phone: (916) 323-8475