Modoc July Complex Dominated by Pyro Plumes and Fire Weather

Lightning activity caused 104 wildfires on the Modoc National Forest beginning July 23, 2017.  Two days later the Modoc July Complex Fire had a name and the attention of firefighters up and down the state of California and across the nation.

Covering over 83,000 acres, the Modoc July Complex Fire proved challenging in many ways for fire crews.  Rough terrain and unusual weather patterns kept the over 2,300 firefighters on high alert trying to suppress and contain the fire.  The one overarching factor was the weather: weather created by the fire itself including something called Pyrocumulous.

If you’d like to learn more about the Modoc July Complex fire:


Want to learn more about the pyrocumulus formation:

Time-lapse of Pyrocumulus Formation






Shawn Boyd

Shawn Boyd joined Cal OES as a public information officer in 2014 after a 20-year career in television news as a reporter, anchor and executive producer. He's a Cal State Sacramento alum and former US Navy yeoman and Air Force brat.

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