Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Bond Fire South of LA Forces 25,000 to Flee

Bond Fire South of LA Forces 25,000 to Flee
The Bond Fire, started by a structure fire that extended into nearby vegetation on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 in Silverado, CA. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

Hot, dry and windy conditions fueled a wildfire southeast of Los Angeles Thursday that injured two firefighters and forced 25,000 to flee their homes.

As of Thursday evening, the Bond Fire had spread to 6,400 acres and was only 10 percent contained, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) tweeted. It comes as California has already experienced its worst year for wildfires, The Associated Press reported. The Bond Fire is also burning close to where the Silverado Fire forced tens of thousands to evacuate in October. Among them was Kolbi Winters, who had to evacuate again Thursday.

"I had one month literally to enjoy myself before another fire happened," Winters told The Associated Press. "If this continues happening, and we don't take care of this, one day, I'm not going to have a home."

California's worsening fires have been linked to the climate crisis, as warmer temperatures make the state and its vegetation drier, fueling the flames.

The Bond Fire began in a house before 10:15 p.m. Wednesday night, CBSLA reported. However, three factors influenced its spread, according to CNN. A combination of Santa Ana winds up to 70 miles per hour, humidity as low as four percent and the hottest temperatures across the continental U.S. created a "particularly dangerous situation" for fires in the region, the National Weather Service Los Angeles said. These factors prompted utilities to shut off power to 123,000 customers as a preventative measure and sparked several fires, of which the Bond Fire was the largest, according to The Associated Press. High winds helped turn the house fire into a wildfire.

"When crews arrived it was a fully engulfed house and the winds were extremely strong and they pushed flames into the vegetation," OCFA spokeswoman Colleen Windsor told The Associated Press.

The blaze then damaged other structures.

"We know that a number of houses have been damaged, potentially destroyed," OCFA chief Brian Fennessy said at a press conference, The New York Times reported.

Fennessy also said that more than 500 firefighters from more than 30 agencies were helping to battle the flames. Two of those firefighters, who were with the U.S. Forest Service, were injured sometime Thursday afternoon, according to CBSLA. They were treated by paramedics and taken to a hospital, where their condition was not known. However, their injuries were not life-threatening, according to The New York Times.

The fire forced 25,000 to evacuate, though some evacuation orders were lifted, CNN reported. Evacuations were complicated by the coronavirus pandemic. Because of the contagious disease, authorities could not set up an overnight shelter and advised people to stay with family or in a hotel.

The Red Cross set up an evacuation point and said it had provided hotel rooms for 170 people, The New York Times reported.

The combination of back-to-back fires and the pandemic have taken a toll on the local community and its small businesses.

"Because of the fire, the quality of the air is very bad," 47-year-old Mohadeseh Sadollahi, who owns the Bellaria Coffee House in the evacuated community of Foothill Ranch, told The New York Times. "People can't sit outside, and they can't sit inside. As a small-business owner paying all my bills and rent, I can't fix it very easily."

Valley of the Gods in the heart of Bears Ears National Monument. Mint Images / Getty Images

By Sharon Buccino

This week, Secretary Haaland chose a visit to Bears Ears National Monument as her first trip as Interior Secretary. She is spending three days in Bluff, Utah, a small town just outside the monument, listening to representatives of the five tribes who first proposed its designation to President Obama in 2015. This is the same town where former Secretary Sally Jewell spent several hours at a public hearing in July 2016 before recommending the monument's designation to President Obama.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Anthony Richardson, Chhaya Chaudhary, David Schoeman, and Mark John Costello

The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles.

Read More Show Less
"Secrets of the Whales" is a new series that will start streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. Disney+

In celebration of Earth Day, a star-studded cast is giving fans a rare glimpse into the secret lives of some of the planet's most majestic animals: whales. In "Secrets of the Whales," a four-part documentary series by renowned National Geographic Photographer and Explorer Brian Skerry and Executive Producer James Cameron, viewers plunge deep into the lives and worlds of five different whale species.

Read More Show Less
Spring is an excellent time to begin bird watching in earnest. Eugenio Marongiu / Cultura / Getty Images

The coronavirus has isolated many of us in our homes this year. We've been forced to slow down a little, maybe looking out our windows, becoming more in tune with the rhythms of our yards. Perhaps we've begun to notice more, like the birds hopping around in the bushes out back, wondering (maybe for the first time) what they are.

Read More Show Less
The brown pelican is seen on Queen Bess Island in Louisiana in March 2021. Casey Wright / LDWF biologist

Who says you can't go home again?

Read More Show Less