Wind fans ‘extremely fast-moving’ California wildfire as western U.S. states battle blazes

GUINDA, CALIF.—A massive wildfire in rural Northern California has exploded in size and forced evacuations in hot, dry weather that is sweeping through several western states where blazes are threatening thousands of homes. The fast-moving fire that started over the weekend northwest of Sacramento grew dramatically to about 243 square kilometres by Monday night, largely burning out of control in rugged terrain with a few cattle and horse ranches and sending smoke and ash as far south as San Francisco. State fire officials said 700 homes and other buildings were threatened but none had burned. The fire that started Saturday about 160 kilometres northeast of San Francisco spread as strong winds pushed smoke south, dusting cars and homes with a thin layer of grey ash. About 300 people were told to flee their homes. No injuries were reported. The flames were chewing through tinder-dry grass, [...]

2018-07-03T08:17:27+00:00July 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

Flooding possible in U.S. Southwest where wildfires scorch earth

DENVER (Reuters) - Heavy thunderstorms and widespread rains expected on Saturday in the U.S. Southwest could help douse the numerous unrelenting wildfires crews are battling in the parched region. But they could also bring the potential for dangerous flash flooding as 1 to 3 inches (3 to 9 cm) of rain is forecast to fall in parts of the five-state region where more than 20 wildfires have left behind areas of barren earth, the National Weather Service said. “Water can rise quickly downstream of heavy rain, even when thunderstorms and heavy rain are miles away,” the service said in an advisory. “Rock and mud slides, and high water flowing across roads, are also possible which could impact travel.” One of the areas of particular concern is in southwestern Colorado where the largest and most threatening blaze is the 416 Fire, which has scorched nearly 33,000 [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:42+00:00June 16th, 2018|0 Comments

Fierce gusts, bone-dry conditions challenge crews fighting U.S. wildfires

(Reuters) - Fierce wind gusts and brutally bone-dry conditions are expected on Thursday across a five-state region where firefighters are wrangling several unrelenting wildfires that have forced thousands of residents to flee their homes. Red flag warnings have been issued for parts of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, where winds gusts could reach 40 miles (65 km) an hour and humidity drop to 5 percent throughout the day, the National Weather Service said. Weather conditions along with possible dry lightning from thunderstorms could contribute to “extreme fire behavior” on Thursday in southwest United States where more than two dozen wildfires are currently burning, the service warned. The largest and most threatening blaze, the 416 Fire, has scorched 27,400 acres (11,088 hectares) of drought-parched grass, brush and timber at the edge of the San Juan National Forest near the southwestern Colorado town of Durango. Crews [...]

2018-06-18T09:46:28+00:00June 14th, 2018|0 Comments

San Juan National Forest to close as 416 wildfire grows to 22,000 acres

The San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado will shut down for the first time in its 113-year history as the drought-driven 416 fire has climbed to 22,131 acres. The closure order was signed Monday night and the shutdown will become effective Tuesday. It will prohibit entry by the general public into the 1.8 million-acre forest, across nine counties, at the start of the area’s busy summer season, which attracts worldwide visitors and tourists. The SJNF implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions on May 1 followed by Stage 2 fire restrictions on June 1, but conditions continue to deteriorate as the 416 fire and the 1,000-acre Burro fire continue to grow. “Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:43+00:00June 12th, 2018|0 Comments

After losing homes in the Thomas Fire, the next challenge is insurance

Carl Zaid wasn’t sure how to tell his wife their house had just burned to the ground, so he did it with the help of a flamingo. Her name was Miss Pink, and she was perched in her usual spot in the front yard the night the family fled as flames approached from the canyon behind them. And she was there the next day, singed but still standing, when Zaid and his two daughters came back to find their house a heap of concrete, rubble and countless screws. Christmas lights straddled the mailbox. Zaid called his wife. He broke the news. “Miss Pink’s feathers are a little ruffled, but guess what — she’s looking for a new home,” he said. Losing the Ventura home they moved into almost 40 years ago was hard. Really hard. Finding out their insurance won’t come near to covering the cost of rebuilding has begun to [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:46+00:00January 31st, 2018|0 Comments

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

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

Southern California wildfires trigger mass destruction, hurting families, economy

Authorities lifted all evacuation orders in Santa Barbara County and portions of Ventura County on Dec. 21, nearly three weeks after fire personnel started working to slow the wind-whipped Thomas Fire. Officials said the so-called “Thomas Fire,” which started on Dec. 4 about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, has caused at least 50,000 people to evacuate, destroyed at least 1,063 structures and scorched roughly 281,620 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 Monday evening, it was 86 percent contained.  Additionally, the Thomas Fire is now the biggest blaze in California's history since detailed record-keeping began in 1932. One firefighter has died while trying to combat the fire in Southern California, authorities said on Dec. 14. Cory Iverson, 32, was an engineer based in San Diego. He left behind [...]

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