Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Wildfires are sweeping through California. Here’s what you need to know

[PBS] Clusters of wildfires continue to rip through Northern California and Anaheim, propelled by powerful winds and dry conditions.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reported Tuesday that 17 fires are currently charring more than 110,000 acres across the region, though some of the smaller fires are up to 50 percent contained. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in eight counties. Fire officials have yet to determine a cause for the fires in Northern California.
The fires began Sunday and grew within a matter of hours, prompting thousands to flee. Some of the largest blazes have burned through through Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa counties in Northern California. The speed of the blaze took fire officials by surprise, burning through 20,000 acres in 12 hours on Monday night. Further south, residents of Anaheim Hills and Orange County were also forced to evacuate as a brush fire, now 25 percent contained, burned through 7,500 acres and destroyed 24 structures. 
The intensity of the Napa firestorm over a span of a few hours make it one of the worst in the state’s history.
Though the cause of these fires aren’t yet known, research continues to find human activity to blame for a majority of nationwide fires. From leftover campfires to wayward fireworks, it is said that up to 84 percent of fires are human caused.
Officials told media outlets at least 15 people died in the fires and more than 1,500 homes and business have been destroyed.
As of Monday, more than 100 people were also injured by the fires, officials told CNN. Most patients were treated for smoke inhalation. The destroyed businesses include at least two wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties, the Associated Press reported.
Santa Rosa, home to 175,000 people, saw some of the worst damage. Some residents told The New York Times, they “couldn’t even find the street” to their neighborhood once the fire had burnt through the area. Read More