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

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

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 [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:52+00:00December 9th, 2017|0 Comments