Stay Indoors: Authorities Stern Warning While Wildfires Ravage California

Residents are urged to protect themselves as wildfires near LA consume over 15,600 acres. 

Fueled by Strong Winds 

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Over 1,000 people were evacuated due to wildfires northwest of Los Angeles scorching up thousands of acres of land. This comes after a weekend of strong winds chased the flames along Interstate 5.

A Manic Monday 

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Helping the fire along was the region’s dry grasses, significantly increasing the harsh conditions battled by firefighters on Monday morning. Not helping the situation at all was the smoke from Sunday’s fires blowing about 225 miles northwest across the Mojave Desert. 

Unsafe Air

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This impacted Nevada’s air quality so that officials issued an alert for the elderly, children, and those with respiratory- and heart issues to remain indoors.

One Hot Weekend 

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Nicknamed the “Post Fire”, the flames started at about 1:47 p.m. on Saturday in Gorman, California, and grew to about 4,400 acres after failing to be contained. This severely increased the impact and, by Monday, the damaged area had grown to 15,610 acres, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in California (Cal Fire). 

We Didn’t Start the Fire 

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Most of the fire is burning in Los Angeles County, with hundreds of acres also catching alight in Ventura County. By Monday afternoon, about 8% of the fire has been contained as per Cal Fire. The cause of the wildfire is still under investigation.

A Path of Destruction 

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Over 1,000 team members from Los Angeles- and Ventura counties, plus the U.S. Forest Service with the Los Padres National Forest, have helped to fight the flames. Thus far, at least two structures have been destroyed with a possible 60 more to follow. 

Everybody Out!

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Although 8% of the Post Fire on Saturday was contained, at least 1,200 campers, hikers, and off-roaders were forced to evacuate the Hungry Valley recreation area. 

Remaining Optimistic

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According to Kenichi Haskett, a Los Angeles County Fire Department section chief, “That 8% is good because it means we are increasing and bolstering our containment lines”.

Fighting Against Nature

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Unfortunately, further fire growth is still possible, especially towards the south. This is due to Cal Fire efforts being thwarted by strong winds, high temperatures, and low humidity, which are expected to continue through Sunday night.

Closed for Safety

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In addition to people fleeing Hungry Valley Park, authorities also had to close Pyramid Lake, a reservoir well known for weekend boating, approximately 25 miles northwest of Santa Clarita. 

A Hazy Outlook 

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“It’s hazy over the mountains,” said Mike Olesen, a 20-year-old living in the suburban outpost Castaic, northwest of Santa Clarita. Olesen, who has never experienced a wildfire evacuation before, claimed that smoke and embers had been blowing into town since Saturday evening. 

Chaos in Castaic?

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Officials are not taking any chances and have warned Castaic residents, about 19,000 in total, to start preparing to leave in case the flames continue further south. 

Get Ready to Leave 

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Haskett wants everyone to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. “If you’re in a warning area, be prepared with a ‘go bag,’ with overnight clothes and your cellphone, your medicines, your glasses. Have your car fueled up”.

Important Structures at Risk 

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L.A. County Fire Department officials stated on Tuesday that they managed to contain about 24% of the fire. However, as the weather is making it more difficult to fight the flames, the fire could spread to important structures like dams, power lines, and oil pipelines. 

Bad for Business 

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Not all businesses managed to escape the hazardous conditions, as one car repair company with dozens of cars in Gorman succumbed to the flames.

What Do the Scientists Say? 

According to Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with the University of California, this year’s fire season has kicked off on a slow to near-average start after back-to-back wet winters. 

A Classic Fire Season? 

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“These are not peak season fires either in scope or behavior or in terms of where they’re burning,” Swain claimed during an online briefing. “In many ways, they’re classic, early-season fires since they’re primarily burning in grass and brush.” 

More Heat to Follow? 

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Unfortunately, Swain states that he expects more wildfires to follow – at lower elevations in July and at higher elevations during August. “And the bad news is that I think that the back half of this season is going to be much more active, with a lot more concerning level of wildfire activity in a lot of areas than the first half,” he said. 

A Call for Rain

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A spokesperson for Cal Fire, Issac Sanchez, claims: “The threat of catastrophic wildfires isn’t going to diminish until we actually start getting wetting rain and cooler conditions in the late fall, early winter”. 

More Smoke, More Fires

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The Post Fire might currently be the largest one in the state, yet various other wildfires are also inflicting damage across California. This includes the 10,000-acre Sites Fire in Colusa County, which is sending dark clouds of smoke throughout the Southwest. 

The post “Stay Indoors”, Authorities Say While Wildfires Ravage California appeared on EcoHugo.

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