[Excerpt] In late October 2007, several major wildfires engulfed large tracts of land in the southern region of California, forcing the evacuation of half a million people. Adverse climatic conditions contributed to the rapid spread of the fire, which has resulted in the loss of lives, the destruction of homes and other property, and the disruption of business activities. Out of 98.8 million acres, 0.5 percent of California’s land area has been affected.
The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program publishes county-level industry data on establishments, employment, and wages based on a virtual census encompassing 96.4 percent5 of civilian employment in the United States. This profile presents county-wide QCEW data for 2006 for the areas affected by the wildfires. Only a very small percentage of the employment in the FEMA-designated counties may be directly affected by the fires. (QCEW data for the fourth quarter of 2007, which will reflect the impact of the wildfires, will be available in July 2008.) A map with economic data on the burned areas is available on the State of California website at http://www.calmis.ca.gov/file/maps/Southern-CA-Fires-2007.pdf.