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The forecasted rain could bring much-needed relief for the firefighters battling the Camp Fire in Butte County. However, it could also bring new hazards due to possible ash, mud and debris flows triggered by the rain.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Matt Blois
A neighbor knocked on Rick Burgess's door at about 9:30 p.m. to tell him a fire was coming towards his home in Ventura, California. When he looked outside he saw a column of smoke, and the hills were already starting to turn orange. He loaded up his truck with a collection of native plants he was using to write a countywide plant guide, and barely had enough time to get out.
Editor's Note: As of 7:30 am EST Thursday the California mudslides death toll has risen to 17. Southern California, which just endured the largest wildfire in state history, is being bombarded by flooding and destructive mudslides triggered by torrential downpours.
The "waist-high" mud destroyed homes, uprooted trees and washed away dozens of cars in Santa Barbara County, CNN reported.
The vast blaze, now 89 percent contained, has burned through 281,620 acres, according to CalFire. More than 1,000 structures have been destroyed or damaged and two people were killed.
More than 8,400 firefighters are battling the Thomas Fire raging in Southern California's Pacific coast. The massive blaze, which charred 270,000 acres, destroyed 1,024 structures and took the life of 32-year-old Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson, is officially the third largest wildfire in state history.
Notably, the Thomas Fire—now 45 percent contained—could potentially take the dubious title of California's largest-ever wildfire since record-keeping began in 1932. The state's largest is the 2003 Cedar Fire which burned 273,246 acres and killed 15 people.
As six large wildfires and several smaller fires burn across Southern California, firefighters, first responders and everyday Americans are stepping up—and risking their lives—to rescue fellow citizens, homes, buildings and animals from the blazes.
About 5,700 firefighters are battling the region's brushfires around the clock in intense heat and grueling conditions.
In fact, the Golden State has been experiencing a higher frequency of intense wildfires in recent years, with 13 of the largest 20 wildfires in state history breaking out since 2000.
California is burning again. A massive wildfire fueled by powerful Santa Ana winds has spread some 31,000 acres in Southern California, destroying 150 structures and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate.