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california wildfire

Two firefighters have been killed and tens of thousands of people forced to flee their homes in a raging wildfire in Shasta county, northern California.

According to fire officials, the fires are being sucked up by strong winds to form “fire tornados” that are uprooting trees and overturning cars.

The fires have destroyed at least 500 structures and are threatening thousands of homes.

Firefighters are battling the blaze, which is only 5% contained so far.

The wildfire, which has been named the Carr fire, began on July 23 and has scorched over 48,000 acres of land – an area larger than the city of San Francisco.

Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott told reporters: “We are seeing fire whirls – literally what can be described as a tornado.

“This fire was whipped up into a whirlwind of activity” by gale-force winds, he said, “uprooting trees, moving vehicles, moving parts of roadways.

“These are extreme conditions… we need to take heed and evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”

Image source Wikipedia

Thomas Fire: California Governor Jerry Brown Brands Wildfires as New Normal

California Wildfires: At Least 17 Dead and More Than 150 Missing

Two firefighters – fire inspector Jeremy Stoke, and a bulldozer operator who has not yet been named, died trying contain the blaze.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, three people – a great-grandmother and her two great-grandchildren, are currently missing.

About 37,000 residents have been forced to leave the area.

Wildfires are a common occurrence in California during the state’s long, hot, dry summers.

However, experts say this has been the worst start to the fire season in 10 years – partly due to the 2012-2017 drought that killed off large amounts of vegetation.

In December, California Governor Jerry Brown said devastating wildfires fuelled by climate change had become “the new normal”, and that large fires “could happen every year or every few years”.


At least 15 people have died after mudslides and flooding hit southern California.

Rescue workers are now searching for survivors.

More than 30 miles of the main coastal road have been closed and police said the scene “looked like a World War One battlefield”.

A group of 300 people are reportedly trapped in Romero Canyon neighborhood east of Santa Barbara, with rescue efforts due to resume at daybreak.

The death toll is expected to rise.

Up to now, more than 50 people have been rescued, but many places are still inaccessible. Several roads are closed, including the major Highway 101.

Some 163 people have been taken to hospital while other 20 had “storm-related injuries” and four were critically hurt.

The first rain in months caused mudslides when it hit ground that had been scorched by December’s huge wildfires.

According to specialists, after a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil create a water repellent layer which blocks water absorption. Together with the loss of vegetation, this leads to an increased risk of mudslides and floods.

Image source Flickr

Thomas Fire Becomes Largest Blaze in California’s History

California Fires Death Toll Rises to 31 as Hundreds Remain Missing

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says the risk of flooding stays “significantly higher” for up to five years after a wildfire.

The National Weather Service said in a statement: “Recent burn areas will be especially vulnerable where dangerous mud and debris flows are possible.”

According to officials, in some places mud was waist-deep.

Thousands had to leave their homes, many for the second time in two months. The emergency services declared an exclusion zone, saying anyone moving around the area would be in the way of rescuers and would be subject to arrest.

Those who have stayed in the area have been warned to boil their tap water before drinking it.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said that heavy rain run-off caused a mudflow in the community of Montecito, where some homes were knocked off their foundations.

On January 9, County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said that five people were found dead in Montecito, possibly as a result of the storm.

The upmarket neighborhood includes homes owned by celebrities such as Rob Lowe, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey.

The US Coast Guard has sent “multiple airships to support rescue operations” and warned the public not to fly drones, otherwise the flights would be grounded.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this comes after a record-setting year of $306 billion of weather and climate-related disaster costs in the US, with 2017 the third warmest year on record.

California has suffered severe drought in five out of six of the past years.


The deadly Thomas fire which has destroyed more than 700 homes in California is now the largest blaze in the state’s recorded history.

The wildfire has burned more than 1000sq km – an area greater than New York City, Brussels and Paris combined.

It broke out in Santa Paula in early December and has moved west towards the coast, one of several major fires in California in recent months.

Thousands of firefighters have been deployed to bring it under control.

Most of California’s largest wildfires have been recorded this century. According to scientists, the warming climate and spread of buildings into wilderness areas have contributed.

Image source Wikimedia

Thomas Fire: California Governor Jerry Brown Brands Wildfires as New Normal

The Thomas fire slowly eclipsed previous record-setting blazes, finally overtaking the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which burned 273,246 acres.

It follows a series of deadly fires in the state’s wine country in October that burned more than 10,000 homes and killed more than 40 people.

The Thomas fire has destroyed more than 1,000 buildings and claimed the life of one firefighter – Cory Iverson, a father of one from San Diego whose wife was expecting another child.

It is now moving slower because of rain and less wind.

State fire agency Cal Fire says the Thomas fire is now 65% contained and expected to continue to slow. Controlled burns by firefighters may cause some temporary expansion, it said.

Seven of California’s 10 largest fires on record have occurred since 2000. Two were in the 1970s and the earliest was in 1932 – the Matilija fire which, like the Thomas fire, burned through Ventura County.


California Governor Jerry Brown has said that devastating wildfires fuelled by climate change are “the new normal”.

He said vast fires, such as the ones that have ravaged southern California in recent days, “could happen every year or every few years”.

“We’re facing a new reality in this state,” the governor said.

Jerry Brown made the comments after surveying the damage in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles.

Thousands of firefighters have been battling the fires since December 4.

Jerry Brown, a Democrat who has attacked the Trump administration’s stance on climate change, said: “We’re facing a new reality in this state, where fires threaten people’s lives, their properties, their neighborhoods, and of course billions and billions of dollars.

“With climate change, some scientists are saying southern California is literally burning up.”

The largest wildfire – known as the Thomas Fire – burned close to 150,000 acres, an area of land roughly the size of Chicago, Reuters reported.

On December 9, firefighters began to make progress in containing the blaze.

Image source Wikimedia

California Wildfires: At Least 17 Dead and More Than 150 Missing

California Wildfires Kill at Least 13 in Wine Country

Six large wildfires, and some smaller blazes, erupted on December 4 in southern California. Fanned by high winds, they swept through tens of thousands of acres in a matter of hours.

The fires have been driven by extreme weather, including low humidity and parched ground.

California authorities issued a purple alert – the highest level warning – amid what it called “extremely critical fire weather”.

The largest of the blazes, the Thomas fire in Ventura County, spread as far as the Pacific coast and swept across 180 square miles.

About 5,700 firefighters were brought in to battle the brushfires, with some drafted in from neighboring states to help.

President Donald Trump issued a state of emergency to “help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency may inflict.”

Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed and vast areas of land have been badly scorched.

Three firefighters were injured and one death was reported after a 70-year-old woman was found dead in her car on an evacuation route.

Nearly 200,000 residents were evacuated from their homes, with many forced to flee in the middle of the night as the flames rapidly spread.

There are fears the blaze will seriously hit California’s multi-million dollar agricultural industry.

About 90% of US avocados are grown in California, and much of the state’s crop has been wiped out.

The strong winds subsided on December 9 and firefighters finally made some progress in containing the fires.

However, forecasters expect the winds to pick up again on December 10 meaning they are under pressure to extinguish them quickly.

Elsewhere, several evacuation orders have been lifted and residents are beginning to return home to assess the damage.


California’s massive Blue Cut wildfire has been 40% contained allowing many evacuees to return home.

However, some 96 homes had been destroyed in the fire since it broke out on August 16.

Some 58 sq miles have been charred in San Bernardino County, 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Several more fires continue to burn in other drought-stricken parts of California.

Fire spokesman Brad Pitassi said on August 19: “It’s looking very good.”

He added that more gains were expected on August 20, despite firefighters continuing to face dry, hot and windy weather.

Brad Pitassi said the number of buildings destroyed could have been far higher.

Blue Cut, named after a narrow gorge where the blaze broke out, had led to an evacuation order for 82,000 people on August 16.

Many people have now been allowed to return but others were left homeless.


Southern California authorities have order the evacuation of 82,000 people from San Bernardino County after a wildfire broke in a mountain pass.

The blaze broke out on August 16 and has already engulfed about 15,000 acres of land.

Tens of thousands of homes are at risk from the so-called Blue Cut fire. A state of emergency has been declared.

Another fire, the Clayton, which broke out on August 13 in northern California, has destroyed 175 homes.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

The Bluecut fire spread with great speed in the parched canyons around San Bernardino. At least a dozen buildings have already been engulfed.

Forest Service spokeswoman Lyn Sieliet said: “It is a very fast-moving fire, it has wind behind it.”

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County to bring in federal assistance.

The wildfire forced the closure of a stretch of Interstate 15, the main road between Las Vegas and Los Angeles area.

Some 700 firefighters are battling to control the blaze in the Cajon Pass. Its cause remains unknown.

The fire is now heading into the Mojave Desert.

The main communities forced to evacuate were the ski resort of Wrightwood and the desert town of Phelan.

Further north, the Clayton Fire in Lake County was now 35% contained, California’s department of forestry and fire protection said.

The authorities announced on August 16 that Damin Pashilk, 40, was facing 17 counts of arson and was suspected of involvement in numerous other fires in the Lake County area over the past year. He will appear in court on August 17.

A third fire, the Chimney, has affected 6,900 acres since August 13 and has destroyed about 40 buildings in central California.