Quantcast
Popular
www.youtube.com

31 Killed in Deadliest Week for Wildfires in California History

Firefighters continue to battle against 17 wildfires that have burned more than 220,000 acres in California, Cal Fire announced in a Friday update.

The death toll from the Northern California blazes has risen to 31, the deadliest week for wildfires in the state's history.


"We had series of statewide fires in 2003, 2007, 2008 that didn't have anything close to this death count," said Daniel Berlant, a deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The 31 deaths this week surpasses the single deadliest wildfire in state history—the Griffith Park fire of 1933 in Los Angeles which killed 29 people—according to the New York Times.

About 3,500 homes and other structures have been destroyed and thousand have been forced to flee. Hundreds of people have been injured or reported missing. The fires have also released devastating air pollution.

"We are reporting the worst air quality ever recorded for smoke in many parts of the Bay Area," Tom Flannigan, a spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, told the East Bay Times. "This is similar to what you see in Beijing, China in bad air days there.

The wine country fires started Sunday and rapidly spread throughout the week due to the area's low humidity and high winds. Scientists have suggested climate change might play a role.

More than 8,000 firefighters are combatting the flames and many have become weary over the past week.

"We're pretty exhausted. It's pretty steep terrain. We've been dealing with trying to save the structures," Sonoma firefighter Steven Moore told NPR, adding he has gotten little little sleep in four days of fighting fires.

"The winds aren't helping," Moore says. "All we can do is get to the structures as fast as we possibly can and save what we can."

Pope Francis sent a telegram Friday to San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone and Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez expressing his condolences and offered "heartfelt solidarity" and "prayers for all those affected by this disaster."

Fire officials are preparing for conditions to worsen with high winds expected to return.

"Tonight the winds are forecast to be stronger than experienced Thursday with gusts up to 45 miles an hour," Cal Fire said.

A Red Flag Warning—the highest alert issued by the National Weather Service in which conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread—has been issued for Friday night, when winds are expected to increase again.

"Hundreds of additional fire engines and firefighters have begun to arrive from several other states, not only to help relieve crews on the frontlines, but to be ready for the possibility of new wildfires that may ignite during the Red Flag Warnings," Cal Fire said.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored

How Big Is Your Environmental Footprint?

If you want to make a positive change this Earth Day but don't know where to start, one of best things you can do is take an honest look at your environmental footprint. For instance, how much water are you wasting? How much plastic are you throwing out? How much planet-warming carbon are you producing?

Luckily, there are many online calculators that crunch through your consumption habits. While the final tally might be daunting, it's the first step in living more sustainably.

Keep reading... Show less
Shopping at farmers markets can help minimize your waste.

6 Simple Tips to Reduce Waste So Every Day Is Earth Day

Earth Day 2018 is focused on the all-important theme of reducing plastic litter and pollution. Of course, we shouldn't just reduce our plastic footprint, we should try to reduce waste in all shapes, sizes and forms. It's said that the average American generates a staggering 4 pounds of trash every day—but you don't have to be part of that statistic.

Here are six entirely manageable tips and tricks to help you cut waste.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

Earth Day Tips From the EcoWatch Team

At EcoWatch, every day is Earth Day. We don't just report news about the environment—we aim to make the world a better place through our own actions. From conserving water to cutting waste, here are some tips and tricks from our team on living mindfully and sustainably.

Lorraine Chow, reporter

Favorite Product: Dr. Bronner's Castile soap

It's Earth-friendly, lasts for months and can be used as soap, shampoo, all-purpose cleaner and even mouthwash (but I wouldn't recommend that).

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Will Rose / Greenpeace

7 Things You Can Do to Create a Plastic-Free Future

By Jen Fela

We're celebrating a huge moment in the global movement for a plastic-free future: More than one million people around the world have called on big corporations to do their part to end single-use plastics.

Now we're taking the next big step. We're setting an ambitious new goal: A Million Acts of Blue.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular

5 Environmental Victories to Inspire You This Earth Day

Planet Earth is at a crisis point. Researchers say we have to begin reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 if we want to meet the temperature goals outlined in the Paris agreement and avoid catastrophic climate change.

The work to be done can seem overwhelming. A survey published this week found that only 6 percent of Americans think we will succeed in reducing global warming.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
A fin whale surfacing in Greenland. Aqqa Rosing-Asvid / CC BY 2.0

Iceland to Resume Killing Endangered Fin Whales

By Kitty Block

Iceland seems to be the most confused of nations when it comes to whales. On the one hand it attracts international tourists from all over the world to go out and see whales as part of their encounters with Iceland's many natural wonders. On the other hand it kills whales for profit, with some portion of the kill even being fed to some of the same tourists in restaurants and cafes.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
A.millepora in the Great Barrier Reef. Petra Lundgren, Juan C Vera, Lesa Peplow, Stephanie Manel and Madeleine JH van Oppen

Hope for Great Barrier Reef? New Study Shows Genetic Diversity of Coral Could Extend Our Chance to Save It

A study published Wednesday had some frightening news for the Great Barrier Reef—the iconic marine ecosystem is at "unprecedented" risk of collapse due to climate change after a 2016 heat wave led to the largest mass coral bleaching event in the reef's history.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
Lyft

Lyft Announces Carbon Neutrality Drive

Lyft will make all of its rides carbon neutral starting immediately by investing millions of dollars in projects that offset its emissions, the company announced Thursday.

The ridesharing service, which is part of the We Are Still coalition, provides more than 10 million rides worldwide each week. "We feel immense responsibility for the profound impact that Lyft will have on our planet," founders John Zimmer and Logan Green wrote in a Medium post.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!