Here's an interesting article pointing out one aspect of California's wildfire disaster...
My perspective on the problem:
California is largely a blue state, which means they are (pick your own favorite labels) liberals (as opposed to conservatives), Democrats (as opposed to Republicans), tax happy to support the open spending found in state government (as opposed to tax averse) and ecologically righteous (as opposed to how everyone else lives).
One of the biggest problems is the "I've got my piece of Heaven and now I'm going to legislate out of existence any opportunity you might have to get the same"... 30, 40, 50 and 60 years ago California was viewed as one of the best places to call home, and rightly so. An ideal climate, ideal living conditions, beaches and mountains, ample water for everyone, locally grown and harvested produce, other foods such as meats and fowl, fish, eggs and so on. The word got out and suddenly everyone wanted to move to California. They got too populous in some areas and existing residents responded by passing laws governing land usage, population densities, and water rights. They raised taxes time and time again. They did whatever they could (legally speaking) to discourage growth where their piece of Heaven was located, and this strategy was repeated time after time after time all over California. The mantra was "Welcome to California. Now go home!"... So urban housing became too expensive and then suburban housing became too expensive, and newcomers were forced to live farther and farther away from their urban employment.
The next piece was the (fictitious) California guide to ecology, which basically means that if we the residents don't like something then we won't let it happen and we'll wield the ecology hammer as an excuse to stop whatever it is. So, government land managers could not use things like controlled burns to avoid catastrophic wildfires. Some bug or animal or flora might become extinct in the process, so the government (as well as private developers attempting to clear lands) had to do extensive and expensive ecological reviews subject to court review and numerous appeals from ecological minded groups (the most well known being the Sierra Club) before they could even proceed with their respective projects. Many just gave up because they couldn't afford the costs of the court fight.
So what's left is millions of acres of land not properly managed from a perspective of wildfires. And then the climate has slowly changed over time. The once abundant rains didn't fall. Massive land areas dried up and became fuel for wildfires. One spark and ***poof*** everything's aflame...