Southern California Wildfires Continuing to Spread


Sarah Jannings

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA- The most destructive fire in California history has also been the deadliest. The so-called “Camp Fire,” north of Sacramento, and the “Woolsey Fire” near Los Angeles are still keeping more than 8,000 firefighters very busy.

Red-flag warnings were up in Southern California on Tuesday, which showed that firefighters could face extreme conditions.  The fires still continue to spread as utility companies in both parts of the state reported problems, about the time the fires began.

“All I know is that these types of fires are common to that region of our country.  It does concern me as I have family in California, but I’m fortunate enough that they have never been affected by fires such as these.  I just hope people can take necessary precautions and head warnings of governing and safety officials when given warnings for evacuations and other things of that nature,” said sophomore, Andrew Glotzbach.

The utility companies are working with investigators at this time to try to learn how the fires started.  The “Camp Fire” has caused forty-two deaths and that number is only expected to rise as this fire continues to spread throughout the state.  

John Mansfield, a junior who recently moved from California last year during the summer, said “I’m not sure there is much that can be done about the wildfires.  The only solution I can think of is being conscious of disposing things like cigarette butts in dry areas. Other than that people can keep their gutters free from kindling.”

More than 200 people remain unaccounted for and the fire has destroyed more than 7,000 structures.  The “Woolsey Fire” has been estimated to have destroyed more than 430 structures and threatens more than another 57,000.

Actor Liam Hemsworth, along with Miley Cyrus, are just some of the few who have had their houses left in remnants due to these destructive wildfires.

Casey Iniestra, a freshman who recently moved from California to Michigan just this past July said, “All I know about the wildfires is that there are multiple at the same time and they are very widespread.  When I lived in California, I didn’t get to see them right up front, but I remember one day we were eating lunch and ash starting falling on us through the ceiling. The next morning before school I looked outside and the sun was just a red dot because of all the ash in the air.  Very frequently we had fire drills and they showed us how to put a blanket on someone and put it on the bottom of a door, so fire wouldn’t come in. I didn’t have to evacuate, but on the news I saw that the celebrities had to evacuate.”

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday, that firefighters held containment lines to slow the “Camp Fire” from advancing toward Oroville, a highly populated town.  Officials said more than 5,000 firefighters were battling the blaze that leveled the town of Paradise.

In Southern California, firefighters said the threat from the “Woolsey Fire” was far from over.  The Gusty Santa Ana winds continued to cause flare-ups overnight Monday, forcing firefighters to move from spot to spot.

“I’m not so sure there is much that can be done to prevent or limit these fires, they’re mostly natural.  Limited rainfall in the area is something we don’t have control over, and unfortunately is an important contributing factor to these fires.  The only thing we can do is prepare for these fires. We can further improve evacuation plans or increase amount of help there is fighting against the fires.  Readiness is key,” said sophomore Andrew Glotzbach.

Some 200,000 people remain under mandatory evacuation orders. Dry vegetation, low humidity and mountainous geography make it hard for the firefighter crews to get the upper hand.

California firefighters have battled more than 500 blazes in the past 30 days, and in just the past week, more than 225,000 acres burned.  We can only hope that the firefighters and local authorities will hopefully soon to be able to get these unpredictable and massively destructive fires under control.