Relentless wildfires in Southern California have forced thousands of people to evacuate and threaten over 12,000 homes. The largest fire, centered around Ventura, has burned over 70,000 acres, shut down freeways, knocked out power for thousands and is so large it can be seen from space. Experts say that this is “just the beginning” of the problem, as the fires rage out of control in extremely dry conditions, pushed by the Santa Ana winds.
The Santa Ana winds – which usually blow during October – have rapidly pushed the fires over the past few days and there is zero percent containment at this point, which firefighters say will likely remain the case until the dry conditions and winds relent. Red Flag warnings have been issued from Santa Barbara to the Mexico border because the area is expected to have one of the driest two-month periods seen in over a century, prompting concerns about additional fires.
One fire, called the Skirball fire, threatens Los Angeles neighborhoods and the Getty Center and has jumped across the 405 Freeway – one of the most trafficked freeways in the US. The Creek fire rages out of control 20 miles north of Los Angeles and has devoured 11,000 acres in a short time. The largest fire, called the Thomas fire in Ventura, has forced 38,000 people to evacuate and has consumed 150 structures, including homes and apartment buildings. A fourth fire in San Bernadino has been 50 percent contained and has burned 100 acres.
Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, and residents are advised to heed all evacuations warnings for their own safety. Experts also warn people in the area to be extremely cautious, because another blaze could easily erupt due to the massive winds and dry conditions.
Lead image via Deposit Photo