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

California wildfires by the numbers: $177M spent, more than 1,000 structures destroyed

A spate of Southern California wildfires has destroyed an area larger than New York City and Philadelphia — combined. And the end might be weeks away.... Blustery Santa Ana winds literally added fuel to the fires. which began Dec. 4. Here are the numbers behind the blazes: 1 deathFirefighter Cory Iverson, from the San Diego unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), was killed on December 14. Iverson drove a fire engine and was killed on the east flank of the blaze. 281,620 acresThat's the size of the Thomas Fire, the largest one ripping across Southern California. It started in Ventura County and has been moving across Santa Barbara County. The fire is the largest blaze in modern California history. It's torched an area much larger than New York City.  $177 millionThat's how much money has been spent fighting the Thomas Fire, [...]

2017-12-26T10:44:14+00:00December 25th, 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

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

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

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