Los Angeles County Firefighters helping to fight the Butte Fire in Northern California. But it’s not the only one.
Many residents in the region said the air was so thick with smoke, it was hard to breath.
The fire has killed at least one person, an elderly, disabled woman unable to escape her home on Saturday. The Valley Fire has claimed 400 homes already, not to mention many thousand acres worth of forest, which has displaced animals and endangered all manner of life.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, helping free up funding and resources in the firefight. Area schools were also closed on Monday.
But he said today more attention must be given to evacuation orders.
A vehicle destroyed by the Butte Fire sits on tireless rims at a home in Mountain Ranch, Calif., Saturday, September 12, 2015.
Authorities say 585 homes are known to be destroyed, and that number was expected to rise. The fast-moving fire has consumed 40,000 acres.
There are roughly 1,800 firefighters on scene, according to Cal Fire, and additional crews and equipment are being assigned to critical areas on the fire line as they arrive. While “fire season” used to be a confined period, now it’s essentially year-round thanks in part to a historic drought that has left plenty of dry fodder for flames to spread.
“There are communities now, for example, Cobb, that have almost been 100 percent decimated”, Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said.
“Is there the possibility that we’ll run into more people who didn’t get out in time?” The blaze has affected residents in rural Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties.
The cause of the wildfire remains under investigation. At Napa County Fairground in Calistoga, about 600 evacuees sought shelter, the American Red Cross said Sunday. Burglars are on the prowl scamming fire survivors online and asking for addresses to go check on their homes in an effort to steal their belongings. Sheriff’s deputies started conducting evacuations around 1:51 p.m. The devastation in Middletown is simply unbelievable and now the neighborhoods are unrecognizable. Hundreds of homes have burned.
All that’s left standing of Craig Eve’s old home is the chimney. Officials say there is no water or power in Middletown at this time and it’s unclear when it will be restored.
The firefighters, all members of a helicopter crew, were airlifted to a hospital burn unit, where they were being treated for second-degree burns and were listed in stable condition, department spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
However, the weather change also brought with it winds that powered swift moving walls of flames.