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

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

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

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

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

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

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 [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:57+00:00December 7th, 2017|0 Comments

California Fires Live Updates: Homes Burn in Los Angeles and Ventura County

LOS ANGELES — Ash rained down on one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles on Wednesday as flames engulfed homes nestled on the cliffs above it, while a much larger wildfire continued to rage out of control in the Ventura area. Los Angeles officials said Wednesday morning that at least four homes had been destroyed near the 405 Freeway and that more remained at risk. In the exclusive Bel-Air neighborhood, the fire clogged traffic for miles in every direction, including on the narrow residential streets in the hills where many residents were ordered to evacuate. In Ventura County, more than 1,700 firefighters were working to contain a fire that had burned 65,000 acres by Wednesday morning and was threatening 12,000 structures. “These are days that break your heart,” Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said at a news conference. “These are also days that [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:57+00:00December 6th, 2017|0 Comments

Southern California fires growing quickly, forcing thousands to evacuate.

Tens of thousands fled their homes Tuesday as several incredibly fast-moving brush fires pushed by howling Santa Ana winds scorched parts of Southern California. "Fires are breaking out across the so. Cal. Region... Be fire safe. Firefighters are working very hard to minimize damage to property. Evacuations are taking place in many places in Southern California," the Ventura County Fire Department tweeted. Unpredictable winds and extremely dry brush, victim of little rainfall over the past three months, fueled at least five blazes.  In Los Angeles, at least 500 firefighters watched a fire go from 4,000 acres to 11,000 in a matter of hours. "We simply don't know what this fire will do," Mayor Eric Garcetti said. To the west, the biggest blaze had zero containment and it had grown to 50,000 acres -- about 78 square miles -- in just 19 hours. Photos: Wildfire spreads in Southern [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:57+00:00December 5th, 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