Oakland Hills, 1991
Credit: Rory Lysaght / Getty Images


The Place: California
The Underlying Cause: Unknown but called "suspicious"
The Devastation: 1,500 acres burned, 25 lives lost and 2,900 structures destroyed
What Is Noteworthy about This Fire: The day of the Oakland fires there were high winds, temperatures were in the nineties, and surrounding vegetation was suffering from a five-year drought. What made this fire especially hazardous was that all of these conditions existed in a residential area. Not only did this allow the fire to jump from natural fuel to structures but the water used to wet and save houses limited the overall supply.