Quantcast

'Unprecedented' Wildfires Break Out in Northern and Southern California

Climate
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) Golden Gate Division Air Operations helicopter crews have rescued 42 people from wildfires since Sunday. CHP

California is on fire. Multiple major fires broke out in many parts of the state, burning more than 100,000 acres.

More than a dozen wildfires ravaged across Northern California as of Tuesday morning. At least 11 people have died, 100 have been injured, tens of thousands evacuated, and more than 1,500 homes and businesses were destroyed. In Sonoma County, fire officials fielded 100 phone calls about missing persons.


350.org founder Bill McKibben tweeted that the Napa firestorm left the city looking like it had been bombed.

The wine country blazes started on Sunday and are among the most devastating in state history, according to media reports.

"We often have multiple fires going on, but the majority of them all started right around same time period, same time of night—it's unprecedented," Amy Head, the fire captain spokesperson for Cal Fire, told the Guardian. "I hate using that word because it's been overused a lot lately because of how fires have been in the past few years, but it truly is—there's just been a lot of destruction."

Head added that the fires were probably linked to a warming climate: "It has been hotter, it has been drier, our fire seasons have been longer, fires are burning more intensely, which is a direct correlation to the climate changing."

2017 Statewide Fire Map

The flames spread quickly due to powerful winds and high temperatures.

"We also had really gusty winds and really warm temperatures," National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Mehle told the Los Angeles Times. "This time of year it does happen quite a bit. For the San Francisco Bay Area, our summer is late September to early October; that's when we have our warmest and driest conditions."

In Southern California, more than 5,000 homes were evacuated because of a Monday brushfire in the Anaheim Hills area in Orange County. The inferno, dubbed Canyon Fire 2, has destroyed 24 structures and burned at least 6,000 acres.

Smoke from the fire inundated the skies above nearby theme park Disneyland.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange County Monday afternoon after issuing emergency declarations for the affected areas in the northern part of the state earlier that day.

The governor's Office of Emergency Services tweeted that the state is "fully engaged in response efforts for NorCal fires" and "all hands on deck."

The Governor also requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to support the state and local response to fires burning in Northern California.

The Governor also requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to support the state and local response to fires burning in Northern California,

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

An E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef has spread to 10 states and infected at least 156 people, CNN reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Anopheles stephensi mosquito, which carries malaria. CDC / Jim Gathany

The world's first malaria vaccine was launched in Malawi on Tuesday, NPR reported. It's an important day in health history. Not only is it the first malaria vaccine, it's the first vaccine to target any human parasite.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Ice-rich permafrost has been exposed due to coastal erosion, National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska. Brandt Meixell / USGS


By Jake Johnson

An alarming study released Tuesday found that melting Arctic permafrost could add nearly $70 trillion to the global cost of climate change unless immediate action is taken to slash carbon emissions.

According to the new research, published in the journal Nature Communications, melting permafrost caused by accelerating Arctic warming would add close to $70 trillion to the overall economic impact of climate change if the planet warms by 3°C by 2100.

Read More Show Less
Jeff Reed / NYC Council

The New York City Council on Thursday overwhelmingly passed one of the most ambitious and innovative legislative packages ever considered by any major city to combat the existential threat of climate change.

Read More Show Less
Ghazipur is a neighborhood in East Delhi. It has been one of the largest dumping site for Delhi. India is one of many countries where global warming has dragged down economic growth. Frédéric Soltan / Corbis / Getty Images

Global inequality is worse today because of climate change, finds a new study published Monday by Stanford University professors Noah Diffenbaugh and Marshall Burke in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A child playing with a ball from planet earth during Extinction Rebellion rally on April 18 in London, England. Brais G. Rouco / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Earth Day 2019 just passed, but planning has already begun for Earth Day 2020, and it's going to be a big deal.

Read More Show Less
Geneva Vanderzeil, A Pair & A Spare / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Is your closet filled with clothes you don't wear (and probably don't like anymore)? Are you buying cheap and trendy clothing you only wear once or twice? What's up with all the excess? Shifting to a more Earth-conscious wardrobe can help simplify your life, as well as curb fast fashion's toll on people and the planet.

Read More Show Less
Christine Zenino / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Greenland is melting six times faster than it was in the 1980s, which is even faster than scientists thought, CNN reported Tuesday.

Read More Show Less