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California wildfires continue to rage: can the situation be improved

There have been more than 15 wildfires in California since Aug. 7900, according to the latest report from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). In total, they have burned an area of ​​more than 3,5 million acres (1 hectares), 416 people have died and more than 399 buildings have been destroyed since August 15. Edition Newsweek collected the latest data on all major fires.

Photo: Shutterstock

Eight fires have burned more than 100 acres (000 ha) each, including the Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles County. According to the latest Sunday report from the National Forest Fire Coordinating Group (NWCG) Incident Information System, Bobcat "continues to move forward in all directions."

“It actively bypasses and retreats from wind or slope, and then spreads where there is dry grass,” the report says.

About 19 firefighters continue to fight 000 major wildfires in California, Cal Fire confirmed Sunday.

Bobcat fire
  • Location: Los Angeles County
  • Area: 103 acres (135 ha)
  • Localization: 15%

Active fires continue near San Gabriel Conservation Area, with fire advancing towards Highway 2. Fire activity continues to threaten the area around Mount Wilson Observatory.

The fire is expected to spread to the communities of Juniper Hills, Valermo and Big Pine.

“The wind is spreading down the slope at a fast pace. The Littlerock and Wrightwood community will be affected soon. On the east side, the fire continues to threaten the containment lines north of the Ranch 2 fire and threaten Highway 39, ”the NWCG warned.

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Evacuation orders were issued for the residents of Antelope Valley. Several other evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect in various parts of Los Angeles County.

August complex fire
  • Location: Mendocino County, Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity
  • Area: 837 acres (241 ha)
  • Localization: 34%
  • Buildings under threat: 13 926

August Complex Fire spreads over three zones - north, south and west.

“AugustComplex continues to make steady progress. The eastern side of the complex has now been localized, and resources have been moved to other fire zones, ”the Mendocino National Forest said on the official Twitter account.

Cal Fire added: "Some evacuation orders and warnings have been cut."

Evacuation orders, warnings and road closures are in effect in various parts of Trinity, Mendocino and Lake counties, while evacuation warnings remain in effect in parts of Humboldt County.

North complex fire
  • Location: Yuba, Plumas, and Butte counties.
  • Area: 293 acres (843 ha)
  • Localization: 64%.
  • Fatalities: at least 15 people

The North Complex Fire is also divided into northern, southern and western zones.

The fire in the western zone is reported to have reached 80 acres (000 ha), of which 32% is contained. About 374 members of the California National Guard arrived to assist in “clearing the fire zone,” Cal Fire confirmed.

The western and southern perimeters of the fire lines remain intact, and no further fire is expected.

In the southern zone, the fire continues along the Pacific Ridge Trail and the area parallel to LaPorte Road.

Evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect in several localities in Bute, Plumas and Yuba counties.

Creek fire
  • Location: Fresno and Madera counties.
  • Area: 278 acres (368 ha)
  • Localization: 27%
  • Buildings under threat: 8 063

In the northern area of ​​the Creek Fire, increased dry grass has led to an intensification of the fire, with smoke expected to rise over the next 72 hours, especially in the morning hours.

Moderate fire activity has been reported in the southern zone of the fire, but "a constant concern is an excessive amount of burnt areas where leaves fall and create new fuel on the surface," Cal Fire warned.

The fire in the southern zone is expected to proceed east of Lake Huntington around China Peak to the northeast.

New evacuation orders have been issued in Fresno County. Roads remain closed in various parts of Fresno County.

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“The public is being reminded to be vigilant about the current fire conditions. Please continue to comply with road closure regulations and evacuation orders or warnings. Trees and pillars that are deeply charred, especially if they are still smoldering, should be considered hazardous, ”warned Cal Fire.

SQF Complex Fire
  • Location: Tulare County
  • Area: 135 acres (802 ha)
  • Localization: 18%
  • Buildings under threat: 3 188

SQF Complex Fire in Sequoia National Forest includes Castle Fire and Shotgun Fire. Most of Castle Fire is located in the Sequoia National Forest, while a portion of it burns in the Inyo National Forest.

In the eastern zone, fire is expected to move south from Camp Nelson to the Kern River.

The report notes that the fire continues to threaten the communities of Camp Nelson, Pierrepoint and Ponderosa, as well as infrastructure and property in Wasp, Beach, Casa Vieja and Beck Meadows.

The fire behavior in the western zone of Castle Fire is “softened by dense smoke and inversion layers. Deployment on steep slopes promotes the slow advance of the fire, ”the report says.

The Shotgun Fire is expected to have a minimal increase in ignition.

Some evacuation orders have been reduced to warnings, but evacuation orders, warnings, and road closures remain in effect for various other parts of the affected area.

Slater and Devil Fires
  • Location: Siskiyu district
  • Area: Slater - 148 acres (583 ha); Devil - 60 acres (129 ha)
  • Localization: 18%
  • Fatalities: 2

Slater and Devil Fires are raging in California and parts of Oregon.

“Choppy winds impede the fight against point fires, increasing the need for resources and reducing the time required to keep these areas safe,” the latest NWCG report said.

Evacuation orders are in force in the hard-hit area of ​​Indian Creek. The report notes that Highways 199 and 96 are reopening, but evacuation warnings are in effect in the Sayyad Valley and along Highway 96 and from the Klamath River from Sayyad to Thompson Creek.

Dolan fire
  • Location: Monterey County
  • Area: 128 acres (303 ha)
  • Localization: 46%

“At low RH values, dry grass remains available for active combustion day and night,” says the latest NWCG report.

It was reported that most of the fires occurred in internal foci, “when the wind changes, the main problem is the relatively quiet areas of the fire, showing increased activity. Although a period of burning was reported on the coastal side of the fire, “trees weakened by the fire continue to raise safety concerns,” the report said.

Red salmon complex fire
  • Location: Humboldt, Siskiyu and Trinity counties
  • Area: 103 acres (348 ha)
  • Localization: 20%

According to the latest NWCG report, fires are burning in the Klamath and Shasta Trinity National Forests, with areas on the southwest flank being the most active.

“Fire activity has increased again,” reports the NWCG.

The area burned in each forest includes:

  • Six River National Forest: 45 acres (710 ha)
  • Shasta Trinity National Forest: 35 acres (762 ha);
  • Klamath National Forest: 19 acres (471 ha)
  • Hupa Valley Conservation Area: 2 acres () 401 ha.
Other fires
  • El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino and Riverside: 22 acres (576 ha) 9% localization;
  • Snow Fire in Riverside County: 6 acres (013 ha), 2% containment;
  • Blue Jay Fire in Mariposa County (Yosemite National Park): 4 acres (427 ha) 1% localization;
  • Rattlesnake Fire in Tulare County: 2 acres (078 ha) 840% localization;
  • Fork Fire in El Dorado County: 1 acres; 667% localization.

For the latest information on these and other fires in the state, visit Cal Fire website.

How to help Californians survive wildfires

Fire officials are considering various ways to protect communities, but some of these ideas have not received the attention they deserve as options for states that are increasingly under siege by fire. Limes.

One approach, presented in the bill proposed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) And Steve Danes (Montana), is, among other things, to cut down more dead trees and dig more firefields. But it is outdated and environmentally problematic; environmental groups have criticized a bill to allow expedited clearance of felling permits bypassing the normal review process.

In addition, attempts to prevent fires could lead to overgrown forests, which create the basis for even more catastrophic fires. Instead of walking this road or chopping down trees and bushes to make the fires smaller and slower, a better, more scientifically based approach is to focus more on houses and less on trees.

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Many Californians are advised to install mesh screens on roof vents to prevent coals from entering attics, as well as to cover open eaves where coals can linger and smolder. The seminal work of Jack Cohen, a recently retired bushfire expert with the US Forest Service, is finally gaining acceptance: conditions in and around homes are more important to saving lives than trees or forests where fire is concentrated.

“Uncontrolled extreme forest fires are inevitable,” Cohen said.

What is not inevitable is that homes should have wood flooring and siding to allow the embers to smolder, instead of patios and stucco outside. Outdoor irrigation helps too. Feinstein's bill tackles this issue through the provision of some assistance in fire repairs at home. Senator Kamala Harris (DC) has introduced a bill that is much more determined to protect the public.

Few know that land without plants can be a problem too: dead plant debris can catch fire, and ground cover shavings are even more dangerous. Manicured green gardens are the best firefighting landscape, Cohen says. Many drought tolerant native plants are fire resistant and provide habitat for birds, bees and butterflies.

The Chaparral Institute in Escondido is also trying to convince communities to look for smarter ways to save lives during disastrous fires. Many communities located adjacent to large open spaces are rural in nature, with several routes outside the city. During evacuation by car, people choke on the smoke as the fire approaches from behind.

That is why people should not leave the city to protect themselves, the institute says. Other organizations are beginning to take a similar view.

Open, flat spaces within a community, preferably grassy and well watered, can be effective hiding areas, providing a more realistic solution than expecting entire communities to travel 25 to 50 miles or more. These spaces can include large playgrounds or school sports fields. The traditional idea of ​​greening the city center will help turn it into an emergency evacuation point during firestorms. Golf courses can serve the same function, and when placed between houses and the countryside, act as a buffer.

Forestry has yet to play its part. And the government still needs to prevent further expansion of residential areas into high-risk areas. Protection against catastrophic wildfires is best provided from within, not the other way around.

Miscellaneous In the U.S. fires in California

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