California Fires Continue to Burn As Weather Conditions Worsen
Two massive fires continued to burn up and down California on Tuesday, with the Kincade fire in the north and the Getty fire in the south.
The Kincade fire, CBS reported, has already burned an area the size of San Francisco and has destroyed some 60 homes. As of Tuesday morning, the fire was just 15 percent contained. Sadly, officials explained high winds may further fan the flames and cause even more extensive damage.
"The wind will carry burning materials sometimes miles ahead of the fire," Cal Fire spokesman Rhett Pratt said in a statement, "So we're having to go around and one by one deal with those and mitigate those dangers as they pop up, which is always a difficulty, it being dynamic and not just a set fire line."
The same wind pattern may affect Southern California firefighters too.
The Los Angeles fire, Terrazas added, is just five percent contained. and forced thousands of people to evacuate, including California’s ex-governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
On Monday, he tweeted: “We evacuated safely at 3:30 this morning. If you are in an evacuation zone, don’t screw around. Get out. Right now I am grateful for the best firefighters in the world, the true action heroes who charge into the danger to protect their fellow Californians.”
Over the weekend California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency as fires raged in both southern and northern parts of the state.
According to the The Weather Channel, an estimated 3,400 personnel are fighting the Kincade fire, which has destroyed 94 structures, including buildings at several Sonoma County wineries. Some 200,000 people were evacuated in the area and an additional 40 homes have been destroyed. No deaths have been reported due to the fire, however, several firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze.
The "Kincade Fire remains the most stubborn challenge we face," Newsom said in a press conference Sunday. "We are deploying every resource available, and are coordinating with numerous agencies as we continue to respond to these fires. It is critical that people in evacuation zones heed the warnings from officials and first responders, and have the local and state resources they need as we fight these fires.”
Meanwhile, some 400 miles south of the Kincade fire a new blaze erupted, which authorities dubbed the Getty fire as it burned dangerously close to the Getty Center.
That fire spread to more than 400 acres by early Monday morning. It too forced the evacuations of thousands of residents living along Mulholland Boulevard to W. Sunset Boulevard. LeBron James was among those forced to leave their homes. The basketball star even tweeted about the ordeal.
Over the weekend, residents also geared up for another potential disaster as the gas and power companies plan to shut off services to thousands of people to mitigate the fire risk.
On Sunday, Pacific Gas and Electric shared its plans to shut off natural gas to 23,000 customers in northern Sonoma County for “safety reasons,” according to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. Restoration of natural gas and electric started on Monday.
Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times reported, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. also implemented a massive shut-off plan starting Friday afternoon. By Sunday, it had cut the power to some 940,000 homes and businesses with more to come. According to PG&E spokeswoman Mayra Tostado, it will take at least 48 hours to get power up and running again.
Additionally the hundreds of firefighters battling the Getty flames are braced for further challenges on Monday as weather conditions — including a humidity decrease and moderate winds — are expected to get worse.
Those living or traveling to the state are encouraged to stay tuned to local news outlets and heed any warnings to evacuate immediately.