Wildfires in Northern California Are Becoming the New Normal
I’m Ed Smith, a Northern California Wildfire Attorney. For those of us who live in California, our way of life is intimately linked to weather conditions. That is not all bad since California offers some of the best weather in the country. However, for the second year in a row, it has become clear that the weather is instigating what Governor Brown called a new normal, the event of devastating wildfires. According to a representative of Cal Fire, the total devastation and rapid spread of wildfires has never been seen in the state.
Rise in Wildfires
Since 1986, there has been a documented increase in the incidence of wildfires, the land area that was burned and the length of time the fires lasted. A global rise in wildfires, as well as those in California, has fueled a debate about whether climate variation or human influence on the ignition of fires and their suppression are to blame.
Many feel that climatic conditions are a big part of the intensity and fueling of fires once they start. Wildfires in Northern California are fueled by drought and heat-stricken vegetation and trees, allowing them to burn hotter. These conditions are also responsible for the increase in what is called fire tornadoes or “firenadoes.” Fire tornadoes are fast moving, have a burning core and a trapped pocket of air that rotates around it. Speeds of these so-called fire devils in the Carr Fire were tracked at 143 mph. They are formed due to the dry, hot air on the ground and are capable of increasing the fire’s spread dramatically.
July Was The Hottest It’s Been in Northern California
Usually, California’s hottest month is in September when high pressure over the desert causes winds to shift direction going from land to sea. These hotter winds usually heat up the air. This year, high pressure over the country has caused winds to develop in July instead of September, and the temperatures rose to uncharacteristic levels. Daytime highs were met by high nighttime temperatures that did not allow the ground to cool during the evening hours with high humidity. This is a pattern many meteorologists and climate specialists fear will become standard.
Arrests in Evacuated Areas
As the fire increased in intensity, roughly 40 percent of Redding’s 93,000 residents were evacuated. According to the Redding Police Department, the number of robberies increased as people were forced out of their homes for safety’s sake. Looting was reported in such neighborhoods.
The Carr Fire
The Carr Fire began on July 23 when a car’s mechanical failure sent sparks to the ground, igniting the dry vegetation. Due to the heat and lack of moisture, the fire spread quickly, and the direction of the spread was unpredictable. The loss of lives and structures has been high, with over 1,000 homes destroyed in the Redding area and close to 200 houses damaged, over 167,000 acres charred, 37,000 people evacuated and seven lives lost, including two firefighters. Close to 4,000 firefighters are on hand to put out the wildfire.
The Ferguson Fire has burned 94,000 acres as of the date of this post. Almost 2,689 personnel are battling the blaze. The fire, which started in the Sierra National Forest on July 13, is about 38 percent contained. There have been two fatalities, 11 injured and 10 structures destroyed entirely. Approximately, 2,800 structures were threatened by the fire. It has been called the most massive blaze in the Sierra National Forest historically. The area south of Wawona has been secured, eliminating danger to Wawona and Mariposa Grove. Efforts are underway to secure the southeast area of the fire. In addition, the fire has been kept from crossing State Route 120. Firefighters who are trained in removing dead and burnt trees called “sawers” are working to keep the fire away from SR 120. Although a substantial portion of Yosemite National Park remains open to the public, it is crucial to stay alert for changes due to the dynamic nature of the fire.
Mendocino Complex Fire
The Mendocino Complex Fire has grown and now ranks as the biggest in the history of the state. As of the date this report was written, it has grown to over 290,000 acres. Firefighters are frustrated since the fire continues to cross both man-made and natural barriers despite their efforts. It is currently 30 percent contained as of 7:00 a.m. on August 6.
Comparison With Other Fires
Due to its large size, the Mendocino Fire has surpassed last year’s Thomas Fire, which decimated 281,000 acres. That fire burned areas in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The fire has prompted evacuations in three counties, including Mendocino, Colusa, and Lake.
Predictions for the Future
Due to the increasing drought and high heat, wildfires in Northern California are expected to happen more often and with greater ferocity. This sets the stage for more destruction and loss of property. Looking to the future, environmental groups and owners of utility services are examining ways to reduce the fire danger. Since many fires are due to human involvement, education and law enforcement monitoring of potential problems may help.
California Wildfire Property Damage Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Northern California Wildfire Attorney. Wildfires threaten all of us and the environment. Some experience a frightening loss of property, and having insurance coverage is essential to starting over. If this has happened to you and you are having difficulty being compensated, an experienced lawyer can help. Reach out to me for friendly and free advice at (916) 921-6400 or at (800) 404-5400. You can also use our convenient contact us page.
I have helped fellow residents of Northern California receive maximum compensation over the past 36 years.
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Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/firefighter-fire-portrait-training-752540/
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