NEWS

California Wildfires

In California, there are currently four rampant wildfires decimating the West Coast. Since Saturday, August 13, Clayton fire has burned 3,929 acres and 175 structures near Clear Lake and is 65% contained and Chimney fire has burned 11,999 acres and damaged 45 structures in San Luis Obispo County but is only 33% contained. On Tuesday, August 15, Blue Cut fire had burned 37,002 acres near the 15 Freeway in Cajon Pass and is 26% contained. Last, Rey fire began Thursday, August 18 and has burned 600 acres north of Santa Barbara in Los Padres National Forest with only 20% of it contained.

Chimney Fire
Chimney Fire can be seen in the background of a Calfire truck (Calfire)

More than 80,000 people have been forced to evacuate. Despite the mandatory evacuation, more than 50 percent of residents refuse to leave their homes. Fire rescue crews said, however, they are not always able to reach people who stay behind because of the extensive flames.

According to NBC, wildfires recently have “grown more ferocious and expensive to fight.” Blue Cut fire is causing the most damage. It started Tuesday because of hot temperatures, windy conditions and low humidity that allowed for the flames to grow. To keep the fire contained, air tankers and helicopters dropped fire retardant and water while firefighters and bulldozers tried to contain the fire on the ground.

On Thursday, Caltrans reopened the 15 Freeway, a critical trucking and commuter highway, but at the time of publication, Highway 138 remains closed until further notice. There continues to be an increase in traffic to Las Vegas through the Cajon Pass, while firefighters work to get residents back to their houses after being evacuated.

Sources:

  1. Live Updates: New Fast-Moving Fire Burns Near Santa Barbara as Blue Cut Fire Threatens Mountain Communities – L.A. Times
  2. No End in Sight as California Wildfires Continue to Spread – NBC Nightly News
  3. Blue Cut Fire Day 4: Firefighters on the Offensive as Containment Grows – The Press Enterprise
  4. Some Evacuations Lifted as Blue Cut Fire Scorches 56 Square Miles – NBC Los Angeles
  5. Live Updates: New Fast-Moving Fire Burns Near Santa Barbara as Blue Cut Fire Threatens Mountain Communities – L.A. Times
  6. Some Evacuations Lifted as Blue Cut Fire Scorches 56 Square Miles – NBC Los Angeles
  7. Blue Cut Fire Day 4: Firefighters on the Offensive as Containment Grows – The Press Enterprise