California’s wildfire, the state’s third largest, now bigger than New York City

by ASSOCIATED PRESS SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The massive wildfire that California has been battling since early December has now ballooned into the third largest in the state's history, burning a record amount of acreage, officials said Saturday. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority said the Thomas Fire, which started Dec. 4 in Santa Paula, has now burned 259,000 acres. That exceeds the devastating Rim Fire southeast of Sacramento in 2013 by 2,000 acres, and outsizes New York City, which measures more than 195,000 acres. "As of this morning, we're at 259,000 acres and still growing," Concialdi said. The region has had "red flag" — or hot, dry and windy — conditions for an unprecedented 13 consecutive days. The National Weather Service says those conditions would last at least through Saturday evening, with winds gusting to 40 mph in the Santa Barbara County mountains where the fire is burning. [...]

December 16th, 2017|0 Comments

Thousands flee as wildfire ‘beast’ grows to California’s third-largest

VENTURA, Calif. (Reuters) - A raging California wildfire powered by fierce winds grew into the third-largest in state history on Saturday as forced evacuations turned neighborhoods into ghost towns and ash fell in some areas like heavy snow. High winds and dry conditions were expected to remain through the weekend to power the so-called Thomas Fire in Southern California. It has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and threatened 18,000 more since erupting on Dec. 4, including homes in the wealthy enclave of Montecito just outside the coastal city of Santa Barbara. “It is a beast,” Santa Barbara County Fire Department Division Chief Martin Johnson told a news conference. “But we will kill it,” he said. Nearly 8,500 personnel using nearly 1,000 engines and 32 helicopters were battling the blaze, which was 40 percent contained on Saturday evening. It has become the seventh-most destructive in state [...]

December 16th, 2017|0 Comments

Skirball Fire: Officials Determine Cause Of Bel-Air Blaze; Thomas Fire Still Unchecked; Apple Donates $1M – Update

3RD UPDATE, 12:39 PM: The Los Angeles Fire Department said this morning that the Skirball Fire that destroyed homes in Bel-Air last week was caused by an illegal cooking fire. “LAFD investigators have determined the fire was caused by an illegal cooking fire at an encampment in a brush area adjacent to where Sepulveda Boulevard crosses under the San Diego (405) Freeway,” officials said. “At the time of the LAFD’s arrival there were no individuals present at the area of origin and there have been no arrests made in connection to this fire.” The Skirball Fire burned more than 400 acres, destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others. Meanwhile, Apple has pledged $1M for Southern California wildfire relief as the Thomas Fire continues to burn in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and others scorch parts of Los Angeles and San Diego counties. The company also had pledged $1M in relief [...]

December 12th, 2017|0 Comments

First fire-related death confirmed in Southern California

(CNN)A woman whose body was found at a crash site along an evacuation route in Southern California became the first confirmed fire-related casualty in a series of raging wildfires that could gain strength this weekend. Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday was due to visit Ventura County, home to the largest of the six wildfires, the Thomas Fire. He'll survey damage, meet with affected residents, consult with government officials and emergency responders, and brief reporters, his office said. His visit comes as strong Santa Ana winds this weekend could fuel the flames, the National Weather Service said. Wind gusts in the region will be 35 to 55 mph through Sunday, CNN meteorologist Rachel Aissen said. The forecast could challenge firefighters, who by Friday had made progress against the Thomas Fire, officials said. "With this break in the weather, we've made good progress, but that progress is [...]

December 9th, 2017|0 Comments

Some Skirball Fire Evacuees To Be Allowed To Return To Homes Tonight

UPDATE, 4:45 PM with new details of repopulation: Some residents in the area of the Skirball Fire who were evacuated after it started yesterday morning will be allowed back in their homes tonight, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a press conference this afternoon. The good news comes more than 24 hours after the blaze started that shuttered the 405 Freeway on Wednesday morning. The City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department gave the following details for residents, who can begin returning in some areas by 8 PM: Roscomare will be open from Mulholland to Sunset for residents only.  You will not be able to drive west from Roscomare into neighborhoods from Mulholland to down to Bellagio. Linda Flora, Moraga and Lower Casiano will remain closed. Bellagio will be open to residents only, however you can only access roads to the South from Bellagio. Bell Terrace and [...]

December 7th, 2017|0 Comments

This Map Shows Where All the Wildfires in California Are Burning

By JENNIFER CALFAS Updated: October 11, 2017 10:02 AM ET | Originally published: October 10, 2017 Fast-moving wildfires tore through California this week, destroying 1,500 homes, wineries and businesses in what has become one of the deadliest outbreaks in the state’s history. A number of wildfires swept across Northern California in Napa and Sonoma counties just north of San Francisco — killing at least 17 people and forcing thousands of residents evacuate their homes as firefighters struggled to contain the roaring flames that have scorched tens of thousands of acres. California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties, as well as in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange counties. Some Red Flag Warnings, which mean conditions are ideal for fast-moving fires, are still in place, according to the state’s department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire. While a number of active wildfires [...]

October 11th, 2017|0 Comments

Nearly 2 million acres of land are burning across the US in one of the worst fire seasons we’ve ever seen

It's been a year of extreme weather. Hurricanes have devastated Texas and the Caribbean, and monsoon floods have displaced millions and killed more than 1,000 people in South Asia. Meanwhile, one of the worst US wildfire seasons in years has ignited blazes across the west. Almost 2 million acres of land — an area nearly the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined — are currently aflame, according to the September 14 daily report by the National Interagency Fire Center. There are more than 100 active wildfires and at least 41 uncontained large blazes, battled by more than 25,000 responders, the National Guard, and half a battalion of active-duty soldiers. Eagle Creek wildfire burns as golfers play at the Beacon Rock Golf Course in North Bonneville, Washington.REUTERS/Kristi McCluer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY "This one in particular has been a longer season. It really hasn't stopped since the fall of 2016," Chris Wilcox of the National [...]

September 14th, 2017|0 Comments

Wildfires ravaging the Western U.S. as smoke sprawls across the nation

Countless numbers of out of control wildfires are creating apocalypse-like conditions in numerous Western states, blotting out the noonday sun behind thick blankets of smoke and depositing ash like freshly fallen snow. So much smoke has been generated that images from space showed it spreading over large parts of the Lower 48. One of the hardest-hit states, Montana, has had almost 1 million acres burned since the beginning of summer. Officials there have said this is one of the top five worst fire seasons in state history. The largest fire in Montana is the Rice Ridge fire, which as of Tuesday had burned 108,126 acres and was only 2 percent contained. In Seeley Lake, the massive blaze has burned numerous homes and buildings and has turned the vibrant vacation spot into a virtual ghost town. The smoke has been so thick at times that you could barely see across the street, according [...]

September 6th, 2017|0 Comments

Largest wildfire in Los Angeles history forces hundreds to evacuate

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A wildfire on the northern edge of Los Angeles rapidly grew on Saturday into what the mayor called the largest blaze in the city’s history, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of people and the closure of a major highway. The 5,000-acre (2,023-hectare) La Tuna Fire, named after the canyon area where it erupted on Friday, has led authorities to evacuate more than 700 homes in a north Los Angeles neighborhood and in nearby Burbank and Glendale, officials said. Authorities warned of erratic winds that could force them to widen the evacuation zone, after the fire destroyed one house in Los Angeles on Saturday. “Other than that, no loss of any property,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference. “That is a pretty amazing thing.” The fire was only 10 percent contained with more than 500 firefighters battling it. [...]

September 2nd, 2017|0 Comments

19 wildfires burn in California

A wildfire that started on Sunday quickly burned through 650 acres and is threatening 200 structures in central California. A separate fire in that region burned through 9 square miles and forced officials to order evacuations in three towns. (Sept. 4) AP Firefighters in California were battling 19 large wildfires statewide, officials said Sunday, including a brush fire that was being called the largest ever in Los Angeles. In all, more than more than 12,000 pairs of boots were on the ground battling the fires, and temperatures on Sunday were up to 20 degrees hotter than usual. California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday issued an emergency proclamation for Butte County, north of Sacramento, in the wake of the Ponderosa fire, which began on Aug. 29. The fire, which is dwarfed by several larger blazes elsewhere in the state, has burned about 4,000 acres so far. It has [...]

August 4th, 2017|0 Comments