Strong winds and dry weather are continuing to fuel wildfires across California, placing tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders and homes at risk.
All across the state, separate wildfires are putting lives and property in peril. Approximately 40,000 people have had to evacuate their homes in the past few days. The Kincade Fire, which started on Wednesday morning and has already managed to burn through 16,000 acres in Sonoma County, may have been sparked by a broken cable on a high-voltage tower. As firefighters work to stop the spread of the wildfire, Pacific Gas and Electric shut off electricity in homes across the area — around 120,000 homes are currently without power.
The Kincade Fire continues to rapidly grow in Northern California, now topping 21,000 acres. The blaze is only 5% contained and has destroyed nearly 50 structures: https://t.co/y2lWSOXAFz pic.twitter.com/QIP7PLdM7a
— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) October 25, 2019
“We’ve had some of our staff lose power and my house may be about to lose power in the next day or so,” said Jeremy King, a Coldwell Banker agent in Petaluma, about forty miles away from the Kincade Fire. “It’s also very smoky.”
King said that people in the area have grown accustomed to fires in the area and that this one is not as frightening as the wildfires of 2017. No deaths have been reported but, as the fire continues to spread, over 2,000 residents from the surrounding areas have had to evacuate while tens of thousands of homes are at risk of being destroyed.
“It’s crazy to think that two years later we are going through this again,” Sarah Carlson, an agent at W Real Estate in Santa Rosa, told Inman.. “[…] The smoke is thick and there are helicopters and bomber planes flying over throughout the day. Many other fires have started but been put out throughout the county.”
In the southern part of the state, the Tick Fire began near a highway on Thursday and has already moved through 4,300 acres of land around Los Angeles. Over 600 firefighters have been battling the flames but, as of Friday, only 5 percent of the fire had been put out. According to the Washington Post, six houses have already been lost in the fires and, as the flames moved through residential areas, homeowners were seen using garden hoses to keep the flames away from their houses.
“We know that number [of homes lost] is going to rise today,” Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby said in a Friday news conference.
Video from the #CabrilloFire tonight on #Highway1 by #PIgeonPoint and #GazosCreek (1) pic.twitter.com/p8EGVX0FU2
— DJ WYZE 1 (@djwyze1) October 25, 2019
In San Mateo county, a grass fire that began on Thursday burned through over 95 acres and caused the shutdown of a major highway. Homes in the area are not currently threatened but, due to high winds, firefighters are struggling to contain the smoke and flames. Meanwhile, the Palisades Fire, which threatened homes in a wealthy part of Los Angeles at the start of the week, has been largely abated.
Late September and early October is the most at-risk time for wildfires and brushfires in California. As climate changes alters the state’s landscape, the number of people killed and properties destroyed is at risk of rising even more.