DEC 08, 2017 09:40 AM PST

Wildfires still blaze in California

Just this week alone California has lost 141,000 acres to wildfires, according to Cal Fire officials. Six wildfires (named Thomas, Rye, Skirball, Creek, Liberty, and Lilac) have ravaged the state, with the two most recent striking the southern part of the state. About 45 miles north of San Diego, the Lilac Fire caught two victims in its 4,100-acre blaze. Authorities have not publicized the state of the individuals. The fire also wreaked havoc on several equestrian facilities in the area and officials report that 25 horses died in a burning barn.

The southern California wildfires could be seen by the International Space Station crew from their vantage point in low Earth orbit. Randy Bresnik/NASA

Over 190,000 residents have been evacuated from their houses and roughly 5,700 firefighters are working to contain the wildfires. Hundreds to thousands of buildings have burned throughout the state with 500 confirmed as “destroyed” and firefighters and emergency personnel are working round the clock to save as many homes as possible. Nevertheless, CNN reports that those fighting the fires are suffering from exhaustion, smoke inhalation, and airborne embers.

"Honestly, the firefighters are taking a beating, but we have to acknowledge the residents because they're taking a beating, too, but they're cooperating with our orders," said Thomas Kruschke, spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.

Now that President Trump has declared a federal emergency in California, more federal aid will be sent to the state and hopefully relief agencies will be able to better coordinate amongst themselves. The following updates have been provided as of 10:45 AM this morning from CBS:

  • Creek Fire: 15,323 acres, 40 percent contained
  • Rye Fire: 6,049 acres, 35 percent contained
  • Thomas Fire: 132,000 acres, 10 percent contained
  • Skirball Fire: 475 acres, 30 percent contained
  • Lilac Fire: 4,100 acres, zero percent contained
  • Liberty Fire: 300 acres, 10 percent contained

Dry weather and strong winds in the region have made the wildfires particularly dangerous and winds could reach to Category 1 hurricane gusts in some areas. According to Cal Fire, the Lilac Fire is the most destructive ever in December, a classification based on the number of buildings destroyed.

To many Californians, this is climate change glaring straight in their faces. December is usually the peak of the rainy season and instead the region is still scarily dry. Los Angeles rainfall has been 94% below normal since October, reports Rolling Stone, and there’s no guarantee that it will stop before the holidays.

Photo: NBC Los Angeles

Sources: CNN, CBS, Rolling Stone

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 15, 2019
These Birds Mate for Life
Meet the Picathartes, a bird species that resides in the Congo and has done such for more than 44 million years. These birds mate for life, and in order fo...
DEC 15, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
DEC 15, 2019
Gaining Insight Into How Organisms Adapt to Changing Environments
Spadefoot toads are known to be shape-shifters; they can rapidly change their behavior and physiology to adapt to environmental changes....
DEC 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 15, 2019
The Penguin Life Isn't Always Easy
Mother nature isn’t kind to wildlife; many assume their position as either the prey or the predator depending on the cards they’re dealt. Unfor...
DEC 15, 2019
Microbiology
DEC 15, 2019
Probiotics Can Help Save Honey Bees From a Fatal Disease
Probiotics have been shown to protect honey bees from a pathogenic bacterium that can wreak havoc on hives....
DEC 15, 2019
Earth & The Environment
DEC 15, 2019
Why do some regions see higher than expected tornado casualties?
New research published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers aims to provide some answers as to why certain parts of the US suffer from ...
DEC 15, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
DEC 15, 2019
The Sequence of the Devil Worm Genome is Revealed
The 'Devil Worm' was found in an aquifer and is the deepest animal that's been found living beneath the surface of the Earth....
Loading Comments...