The wildfires in California just keep shattering records this year

(CNN)This year's rash of catastrophic wildfires didn't just destroy neighborhood and livelihoods -- they also annihilated records. And the destruction's not over. The Thomas Fire, which has torched the equivalent of Dallas and Miami combined, is still raging in Southern California.   Here's a look at the records obliterated by the 2017 wildfires: The costliest in US history Damage estimates from the 2017 wildfires topped $10 billion, said Adam Smith of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And that was beforedevastating wildfires tore through Southern California in December. For the past five years, wildfires scorched an average of 202,751 acres from January 1 through December 24, according to state fire protection agency Cal Fire. That number doubled in 2017. More than 505,900 acres have gone up in flames so far in California. That's triple the area of Chicago. Opinion: How climate change worsens natural disasters The worst for air [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:47+00:00December 28th, 2017|0 Comments

Alarming failures left many in path of California wildfires vulnerable and without warning

The Sonoma ridgeline was a sunrise of flame as Sgt. Brandon Cutting led deputies up country roads to pound on doors, hollering “Sheriff’s Office!” Thirty minutes later, with Cutting huffing from exertion and choking in thick smoke, the evacuation of Redwood Hill was still playing out one door at a time. He followed the sound of shouts to an officer struggling to carry a disabled woman. Her house was on fire. Her shoe on the ground. The night around them was orange in every direction. It was 11 on a Sunday night, the beginning of what would be the most destructive fire siege in California history. Frantic rescues were taking place across wine country as heavy winds ripped down power lines and the dry hills lit up in flames. Modern technology in the form of robocalls and digital alerts would not join the fight to roust sleeping [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:47+00:00December 27th, 2017|0 Comments

Thomas fire in California now the 2nd largest in state’s history

The monster Thomas fire north of Los Angeles is leaving its place in the state's record books as it is now officially the second largest fire in California history. For the past 16 days, the fire that has been turning mountainsides to ash has grown. The fire only needs to consume a couple thousand more acres to dethrone the 2003 Cedar fire that maintains the top spot on the list. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced this morning that 60 percent of the fire is contained, up from 55 percent Tuesday and 50 percent on Monday. Cal Fire reported that it was the same size -- 272,000 acres -- as the night before. So far, the overpowering Thomas fire has claimed two lives, caused more than 100,000 people to flee their homes and destroyed 1,313 structures. More than 8,526 firefighters have put [...]

2017-12-20T11:34:04+00:00December 20th, 2017|0 Comments

Inferno-fanning winds set to return as Thomas Fire close to becoming largest ever in California by PHIL HELSEL

Calm winds have helped California firefighters make progress battling a massive blaze in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, but the fire is expected to eclipse the largest wildfire in recorded state history, officials said. "We've had a very productive day again. It’s nice having a couple days in a row where we have good progress," Deputy Chief Mark Brown of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, said Monday night. The so-called Thomas fire has burned burned around 272,000 acres since it broke out on the evening of Dec. 4. A respite from powerful winds allowed firefighters to reach 50 percent containment on the fire, and crews were taking advantage of calm conditions Tuesday by performing a controlled burn to remove swaths of dry brush along the fire's northern edge. Related: Two months later, California wildfire victims begin the long road [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:48+00:00December 20th, 2017|0 Comments

California fire: Resident says neighborhood looks like ‘war zone’

(CNN)Jeannette Frescas was not concerned about the Thomas Fire until the massive blaze reached her neighborhood in Ventura, California. "At midnight, I woke up with a flashlight in my face," Frescas told CNN affiliate KEYT. "I looked out my window and there were flames that were like, a hundred feet, all around us." Like many residents, Frescas was caught off guard by the fire that has roared across Southern California for 13 days. She's one of tens of thousands of residents who piled into cars and fled as ferocious winds drove the third-largest blaze in modern state history through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. "What was once a paradise was like a war zone," Frescas said of her apartment complex, which was destroyed by the blaze. "It's the scariest thing I've been through in my entire life." Ventura resident Patricia Rye woke up to her son-in-law pounding [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:49+00:00December 17th, 2017|0 Comments

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. [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:49+00:00December 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 [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:49+00:00December 16th, 2017|0 Comments

Southern California wildfires trigger mass destruction, hurting families, economy

Thousands of people in Southern California have been forced to evacuate as wind-whipped wildfires continue to blaze across Ventura County. Officials said the so-called “Thomas Fire,” which started on Dec. 4 about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, has now caused at least 50,000 people to evacuate, destroyed at least 972 structures and scorched roughly 242,500 acres so far. About 18,000 additional structures are threatened by the wildfire as well, according to officials. The cause of the fire is currently unknown. As of Thursday morning, it was only 30 percent contained. Authorities confirmed the death of a 70-year-old woman on Dec. 8. Virginia Pesola was reportedly killed in a car crash along an evacuation route on Dec. 6. Her death is the first connected to the six wildfires in the region. In addition, one unnamed firefighter has reportedly been injured and three other people were burned, [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:50+00:00December 14th, 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 [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:50+00:00December 12th, 2017|0 Comments

High winds pick up, fueling intensity of Southern California wildfires

Firefighters across Southern California continued Saturday to battle six major wildfires with brutal Santa Ana winds expected to keep fanning the flames throughout the day. The newest blazes, the Lilac fire in San Diego County and the Liberty fire in Riverside County, are now being fueled by continued Santa Ana winds and low humidity, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. ABC News meteorologist Daniel Manzo said there's not much relief in the forecast for those fire-ravaged areas. Extreme fire danger will remain in the region through the weekend. Red Flag Warnings have remained in effect for much of Southern California with peak wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph. Low relative humidity –- as low as 5 percent -- is likely through this period, as well, Manzo said. Winds could exceed 50 mph in the mountains east of San Diego. This area will [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:51+00:00December 9th, 2017|0 Comments