Tuesday October 27, 2020
California is not getting the serious forest fires under control. Driven by winds and drought, two new fires are spreading at high speed. Hundreds of firefighters are on duty, and a quarter of a million residents of the west coast state have no electricity at times.
Favored by violent winds and extreme drought, two forest fires spread rapidly in Southern California. The flames resulted in the homes of more than 100,000 people being under evacuation orders. According to the Cal Fire authorities, two firefighters suffered severe burns. They are among the 500 or so emergency services who fought the so-called Silverado fire about 70 kilometers southeast of Los Angeles. The cause of the fire was initially unknown.
“The sky was orange, almost like the end of the world,” said Ed Pascasio, who fled the fire with his family, according to CNN. “I’ve never seen it change so dramatically so quickly.” The streets were full of cars with people fleeing in them. “Many neighbors left at the same time. Everyone was shocked by how quickly it all went.”
The fire near Irvine in Orange County had destroyed an area of almost 30 square kilometers by Monday evening. To the north of it, around 200 firefighters were on duty against the Blue Ridge fire. The authorities warned of strong Santa Ana winds, which blow from the east, especially in autumn.
Many parts of California are currently under red flag warnings for high fire hazards caused by high winds and drought. In Northern California, the utility company PG&E had switched off the electricity as a precaution in particularly endangered areas. Strong gusts of wind can damage power poles and lines and cause sparks. This had caused fires repeatedly in the past. On Monday evening, around 250,000 customers were without power, as a spokeswoman announced according to the “San Francisco Chronicle”.
Violent fires have been raging in the west coast state since mid-August, more than 16,000 square kilometers of forest and farmland have already burned down, an area more than four times the size of Mallorca.