The state of California continues to experience record amounts of burned acreage as fires rage out of control. According to CAL FIRE, over 14,000 firefighters have been deployed to battle against the nearly 30 fires that are burning across the state.
Focus on Oroville and the North Complex Fire: The most damaging flames on Wednesday hit the small city of Oroville, located in the foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California. Authorities are reporting that at least three people have died as a result of the North Complex Fire. According to the Fresno Bee, four people were taken to UC Davis Medical Center in critical condition as flames continue to encroach on the community.Read More »
This fire had been smoldering for weeks and had been 50% contained heading into the week. However, over the last few days, high winds gusting up to 45 mph fueled a massive growth of the fire. As the flames carved a path through the previously parched terrain, the fire grew in size and is now only 24% contained.
Creek Fire Update: The Creek Fire has exploded to over 175,000 acres as it remains 0% contained. Located in the Sierra National Forest in Central California, the blaze has already destroyed approximately 350 structures and forced the evacuation of nearly 400 people enjoying the Labor Day weekend at the Mammoth Pool recreational area.
Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputy Lieutenant Brandon Pursell said on Wednesday that they are still not sure if there are more people trapped in the mountains. Rescuers plan to use new technology on their airplanes to search for people who are possibly boxed in by the flames.
As of Thursday morning, at least 30,000 people have been forced to evacuate from Fresno County with an additional 15,000 residents forced out of their homes in Madera County. Officials with CAL FIRE paint a grim picture of the containment efforts, stating that they do not expect to have the fire contained until October 15.
Southern California Fires: Located in San Diego County, the Valley Fire has now burned over 17,000 acres, leading to a series of evacuation orders and warnings. The El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County is now 18% contained after burning for nearly one week.
The US Forest Service made the unprecedented announcement that they were closing all 18 of the forests in California in the name of public safety.
Smoke Keeps Temperatures Down: After experiencing record heat over the holiday weekend, the smoke that is enveloping the Golden State is keeping temperatures at a more tolerable level. While the forecast continues to call for dry conditions, the burning inferno of wildfires is continuing to deliver a blanket of smoke across a large part of the state. This smoke is keeping temperatures down, reducing what had been predicted to be another scorcher of a weekend.
The National Weather Service in Los Angeles said that although the forecast had originally called for higher than average temperatures this coming weekend, the smoke may thwart the rise in mercury and keep temperatures near the average for the middle of September. In San Francisco, forecasters are telling residents to expect the intense smoke and haze to continue for a few more days.
Elsewhere on the West Coast: California is not the only West Coast state on fire. Both Washington and Oregon are also dealing with their own deadly fires. In Washington state, a one-year-old boy from Renton perished after trying to escape a fire in the central part of the state with his parents. Red flag warnings continue in much of these two states. Southern Oregon has been hit particularly hard by the fires and resulting smoke. As of now, three people were killed in Oregon, including the two in Marion County and another in Jackson County.