Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Twin Blazes Become California's Largest Wildfire In History

Twin Blazes Become California's Largest Wildfire In History

California currently has 21 fires burning, with the Carr Fire near Redding now ranking as the state's 15th largest in wildfire history after burning 154,524 acres, according to Cal Fire. Two firefighters and four other people, including two children, were also killed. "It's pretty doggone hot and dry, and it's going to stay that way".

Overall, experts say Trump's Twitter remarks ignore two of the biggest factors in the wildfires: Climate change, which is likely exacerbating the droughts that lead to fires, and increased development near forests that makes the fires more unsafe to life and property.

Northern California is grappling with one of the largest wildfires in the history of California.

Both fires, which were first reported on July 27th, are expected to be contained by the middle of August.

In fact, "we have plenty of water to fight these wildfires, but let's be clear: It's our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires", Daniel Berlant, CalFire assistant deputy director, told The New York Times.

A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman declined to comment on Trump's tweet but said crews did not lack water to fight the flames.

On Sunday, 140 fire managers and specialists from Australia and New Zealand underwent special training and were outfitted with safety gear at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, before being deployed to battle fires in the Pacific Northwest and California.

More than 11,000 structures are listed as being threatened by the fires. The Thomas Fire scorched a much more densely populated area, burning through 1,063 structures and damaging 280 more.


The fires in Northern California have created such a haze of smoke in the Central Valley that Sacramento County health officials advised residents to avoid outdoor activities for the entire week.

Before arriving at the fires, the Aussies and Kiwis went through a brief training period at the NIFC headquarters in Boise, Bilbao said.

Two blazes collectively called the Mendocino Complex burnt in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties, about 145 km north of San Francisco.

"Honestly, the way the state manages its water, that really has no bearing on the explosive growth of the fires", said Glen MacDonald, a geography professor at the University of California Los Angeles who studies wildfires.

On Sunday, the National Park Service announced that parts of Yosemite National Park will remain closed indefinitely because of growing fires in areas near and on the park.

Hundreds of colleagues, family and friends attended a memorial service Saturday in Fresno for National Forest Service Capt. Brian Hughes.

The disaster declaration that Trump approved for California on Sunday makes available federal funding to state, local and tribal governments "on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the fix or replacement of facilities damaged by the wildfires and high winds in Shasta County". "If we continue to increase greenhouse gases and if we continue to have warming, this is just a stepping stone", MacDonald says.

There are at least 18 major fires burning throughout California, authorities said.

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