California wildfires continue to rage
More than 65,000 acres are torched in Southern California as firefighters struggle to contain simultaneous wildfires fires forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes. Here's where the situation stands.
Wind-whipped wildfires continued to blaze across Southern California on Wednesday. The Thomas Fire, which started Monday roughly 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, is by far the worst — scorching 65,000 acres, destroying 150 structures and threatening 12,000 more. It’s also forced 27,000 people to evacuate, according to officials.
It's currently unclear what sparked the Thomas Fire. At least one firefighter has been injured so far, but no fatalities have been reported yet. However, three people were reportedly burned by the Little Mountain fire in San Bernardino County on Tuesday.
Here’s how the Thomas Fire compares to a few other large-scale wildfires in 2016 and 2017.
Soberanes Fire – 132,127 acres burned
The Soberanes Fire was sparked by an abandoned, illegal campfire in July 2016. It burned 132,127 acres and was mainly fueled by chaparral, tall grass and timber. The fire burned for nearly three months before it was contained.
The fire cost at least $229 million, which was claimed by fire officials to be the most expensive fire the U.S. Forest Service has ever fought, the Los Angeles Times reported in October 2016.
The fire destroyed at least 50 homes and was the state’s biggest and most destructive wildfire of that year.
Long Valley Fire – 83,733 acres burned
The Long Valley Fire was first ignited in July of 2017. The fire, which was located about two miles north of Doyle, Calif. and about 50 miles north of Reno, Nev., was contained 10 days after it first started.
The Thomas Fire in Southern California has still not been contained. (The Associated Press)
Officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze, which was fueled by sagebrush and grass.
About 83,733 acres were burned as a result of the Long Valley fire.
Modoc July Complex Fire – 83,120 acres burned
The Modoc July Complex Fire was first ignited in July 2017, but was 100 percent contained as of September 2017.
The fire, which was started by lightning, was fueled by grass, brush and timber. It was located in the Modoc National Forest in northeast California.
Detwiler Fire – 81,826 acres burned
The Detwiler Fire was first ignited in July of 2017, but was 100 percent contained as of October.
Wildfires sparking apocalyptic destruction
The fire destroyed 63 residences, 67 minor structures and one commercial structure. At least 13 other residences were damaged by the fire, which started in Mariposa County, about two miles east of Lake McClure.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said the cause of the fire was “a discharge of firearms on public lands.”
About 81,826 acres were burned.
Salmon August Complex Fire – 65,888 acres burned
The Salmon August Complex Fire was started by lightning. The first ignition was in July of 2017. Only 87 percent of the fire is contained. Timber and brush serve as the main source of fuel.
The fire is located in the Marble Mountain Wilderness and the Klamath NF side of the Trinity Alps Wilderness, which are both located in North California.
So far, 65,888 acres have been burned.