Largest California fire not expected to spread as winds subside

(Reuters) - The largest wildfire in California history was not expected to spread on Sunday with light winds forecast, officials said. The Thomas Fire that began northwest of Los Angeles on Dec. 4 has burned 273,400 acres (110,641 hectares), the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said, bigger than the size of New York City. The latest figure is unchanged since Friday. Winds are expected to be lighter than 10 miles per hour, Cal Fire said. The fire was 70 percent contained, unchanged from Saturday. The cause was still not known. The fire spread from its start in Ventura County due to strong Santa Ana winds from the California desert. The fire has destroyed 1,063 structures and scorched coastal mountains, foothills and canyons across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles, officials said. Cal Fire said there were flare-ups of hot [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:48+00:00December 26th, 2017|0 Comments

California wildfires now larger than New York City and Boston combined

(CNN)One week after the Thomas Fire exploded from a brush fire to a raging inferno, hundreds of firefighters are still struggling to contain it. The blaze is larger than all of New York City and was only 15% contained as of Monday morning, according to the fire protection agency CAL FIRE.   At more than 230,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the Thomas Fire is now the fifth largest wildfire in modern California history. But it's only one of six major wildfires torching the state.   As the flames move on to new neighborhoods, some evacuated residents have returned to find no home standing.   David Karian used a hand rake to sift through the charred rubble of his elderly parents' home in Ventura.   "There's not much, but if there's a few things that will help them have some connection to the past, [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:51+00:00December 11th, 2017|0 Comments

After North Bay fires, deadline for Santa Rosa cleanup forms announced

The thousands of Sonoma County residents who lost their homes in last month’s wildfires have until Nov. 13 to authorize the government-funded cleanup of their properties or they’ll have to do it themselves, state and federal officials said Wednesday. The deadline — less than two weeks away — was announced at a special meeting of the Santa Rosa City Council in an effort to motivate people to make up their minds about whether to participate in the massive cleanup effort. “The sooner we receive right-of-entry forms from property owners who want to participate, the quicker property owners can begin the process of rebuilding,” City Manager Sean McGlynn said.  To date, despite a two-week-long public outreach campaign, the owners of just 918 properties have granted federally funded crews the right to remove debris from their leveled lots. That’s only about 17 percent of the 5,300 homes [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:58+00:00November 2nd, 2017|0 Comments

Couple’s memories flutter to earth one piece at a time after Santa Rosa fire

The scraps of paper from Fred and Susi Hulac’s lives came from the sky, floating on the breeze like confetti. There was a crayon drawing, and photos of small children, and a school paper. And then there were the wedding photos. They landed in a goat pasture about 3 miles west of Coffey Park, the Santa Rosa neighborhood where the Hulacs had lived for 10 years until the Tubbs Fire leveled it early Oct. 9. In the images, a woman in a long white gown with a crown of flowers in her hair gazes into the eyes of her groom. The dark-haired man is sliding a ring onto her finger. At first, Lauren Bianchi had no idea what to do with them. She found the photos Oct. 11 while she was walking with her 7-year-old daughter, Natalie, off Piner Road in Santa Rosa. The girl [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:58+00:00November 2nd, 2017|0 Comments

Death toll rises to 42 as containment increases in Northern California fires

Crews on Wednesday continued to increase containment of a cluster of deadly wildfires that have ravaged Northern California, while authorities announced the discovery of another fire victim — a development that brought the fatality count to 42. Authorities confirmed a 23rd death in Sonoma County — 22 from the Tubbs fire and one from the Nuns fire, officials said. There were eight deaths in Mendocino County, seven in Napa County and four in Yuba County, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office also released the names of two more Santa Rosa fire victims: Monte Neil Kirven, 81, and Marilyn Carol Ress, 71. After more than a week of warm days and extremely dry air that helped keep the fires raging, a cooler weather pattern blanketing the wine country’s valley floor with fog has begun to settle in.  The combination of [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:58+00:00October 19th, 2017|0 Comments

After week of California fires, progress made in fighting flames

A week after several wildfires ignited in Northern California, firefighters are making progress toward containing the massive blazes that have killed at least 40 people and burned about 5,700 structures.   On Sunday, diminished winds gave firefighters a break in the weather to gain ground on the rash of fires that have scorched swaths of Northern California, including Sonoma and Napa counties. As California Gov. Jerry Brown said over the weekend: "We are not out of the woods yet, there's still fires burning." Officials voiced cautious optimism over the latest efforts. "Overall, things are feeling optimistic for us," said Bret Gouvea, deputy chief of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), during a Sunday briefing. "We're very cautious about that. As you know, we have a lot of fires across Sonoma County." More than a dozen fires are burning in California -- most of which [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:59+00:00October 16th, 2017|0 Comments

California fires: 31 killed; weather stays dry

(CNN)The misery and heartbreak caused by the one of the deadliest wildfire outbreaks in California's history aren't going to end anytime soon, officials said Thursday. "We're not even close to being out of this emergency," Mark Ghilarducci, the director of California's Office of Emergency Services, said Thursday afternoon. The fires that are devastating Northern California have killed 31 people, according to Cal Fire, making it one of the deadliest series of fires ever in the state. The largest of the group of 21 fires are still burning with little containment, and the weather has not helped the thousands of firefighters battling those deadly blazes and new ones that pop up each day. "We are a long way from being done with this catastrophe," Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said. The fires were burning erratically Thursday, he said. Authorities were concerned about new Red Flag warnings that [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:59+00:00October 13th, 2017|0 Comments

‘Pure devastation’: At least 17 dead, more than 500 missing as California wildfires spread

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The historically deadly wildfires ravaging Northern California regained momentum Wednesday as winds whipped back up, pushing blazes through parched hills and vineyards and prompting more evacuations from an arc of flames that has killed at least 17 people, destroyed more than 2,000 buildings and battered the region’s renowned wine-growing industry. Fires advanced overnight toward populated areas in flame-battered Sonoma County, prompting officials to order a fresh round of mandatory evacuations — some of which were announced by deputies “running toward the fire, banging on doors, getting people out of their houses,” said Misti Harris, a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. “It’s rapidly changing, it’s moving quickly, it’s a very fluid situation,” she said. “The fire is growing.” Nearly two dozen large fires have been burning in the northern part of the state; the worst, known as the Tubbs Fire, has already killed 11 people since it erupted in Sonoma [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:59+00:00October 11th, 2017|0 Comments

1 dead as Wine Country fires burn hundreds of homes and businesses, force evacuations, close hospitals

A swarm of wildfires ripped through Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties Monday, killing one resident, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, forcing thousands to flee and turning wide swaths of the Wine Country into wastelands of twisted metal and ash as firefighters sought to contain flames super-charged by powerful winds. California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa and Sonoma counties, seeking to streamline aid for firefighting and recovery. He said the fires, which blanketed much of the Bay Area in smoke, were “really serious,” but added, “We are on it.” One of the main fires roared in the Atlas Peak area of Napa County, a famed winemaking spot northeast of the city of Napa and the Silverado Trail where at least 50 structures were leveled. Another fire burned north of Carneros, and still another near Kenwood, east of Santa Rosa in [...]

2018-11-04T10:14:00+00:00October 9th, 2017|0 Comments

Fast-moving wildfires devour buildings, spur evacuations in Northern Califorina

(CNN)Firefighters are facing difficulties battling three fast-moving wildfires north of Napa, California, totaling at least 44,000 acres as of early Monday, officials said.   The blazes have become a rapidly evolving crisis as Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday issued an emergency proclamation for three counties and local officials are working up a strategy to confront the fires, which show no sign of ending amid high winds and hot and dry weather. More than 50 structures have burned due to the rapidly moving Atlas Fire in Napa, said Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann. Complicating firefighting efforts are low humidity and a lack of resources, he added.  "As of right now, with these conditions, we can't get in front of this fire and do anything about the forward progress," he said, adding that resources from across California were to begin arriving in the area later Monday. [...]

2018-11-04T10:14:00+00:00October 9th, 2017|0 Comments