The location of the big fires in Northern California changes rapidly, so the best way to get current information is to look at the Current Fire Information page at the website for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. As of April 2015, the only major wildfire in Northern California is the Ward fire in Plumas County.
In 2014, one of the largest fires took place in Klamath National Forest. This fire, known as the Happy Camp Complex fire, burned 135,369 acres and took longer than a month to contain.
The location of wildfires is unpredictable because of the large amount of drought-stricken forest in Northern California. Wildfires are a natural occurrence, and occasional small wildfires can be important for clearing out brush and debris. However, some of these forests have not had a small fire in decades, so dry brush and other highly flammable materials build up and create a hotter, more out-of-control wildfire when they do catch.
Many wildfires in Northern California begin from lightning strikes, making their locations even more unpredictable. Other common causes are discarded cigarettes, improperly extinguished campfires and sparks from hot cars or power tools. As humans cause the majority of fires, they may start near rural homes, hiking trails or popular campsites.
A variety of alert and warning systems are in place for California residents concerned about notifications regarding nearby wildfires. The local news and emergency alert radios are also good sources of information.