The largest wildfire in California history was an accident started by a claw hammer.
Cal Fire said Thursday that the Ranch Fire last July began when a property owner in Potter Valley, in Mendocino County, was hammering a metal stake into the ground to install a shade barrier. The hammering created a spark that lit up vegetation on the ground. Winds were strong, conditions were dry and the fire grew out of control.
The fire eventually burned a total of 410,203 acres across Mendocino, Colusa, Glenn and Lake counties, making it the largest fire in state history in terms of acreage. The Ranch Fire burned 280 homes and other buildings and left a firefighter from Utah dead.