California Wild Fires: What’s Going On


Sarah Newton, Editor

The fifth largest wildfire in Californian history has broken out in Southern California. There are six fires currently burning in different parts of Southern California, the largest being the Thomas fire, north of Los Angeles located in Ventura County. The name Thomas comes from where the fire originated, near Thomas Aquinas College. According to CNN, it has burned over 230,000 acres of land and it has caused a mandatory evacuation of over 94,000 people as of Monday, destroying 790 structures. There has been only one reported death so far; a 70 year-old woman who was found dead in her car on the evacuation route, according to the BBC.

Ten percent of the Thomas Fire has been contained as of Sunday evening, according to NewsWeek, which is a decrease from the 15% they contained Sunday morning. As of Sunday night, the efforts have cost $34 million and counting, as reported by CNN.

According to CalFire, the cause of this fire is still under investigation and will not be discovered until the fire is contained.  This area is a very difficult place to fight the flames, which has previously resulted in high death toll numbers in past fires. According to Daily Mail, major celebrities including Rob Lowe and Ellen Degeneres have been forced to evacuate, along with 200,000 other people.

The other fires are Creek Fire, Rye Fire, Lilac Fire, Skirball Fire, and Liberty Fire. According to CNN, Creek Fire is the second largest fire out of the six and is 95% contained, but has burnt almost 16,000 acres. Rye Fire is 93% contained and has burnt a little over 6,000 acres. Lilac Fire is 75% contained and has burned 4,100 acres. Skirball Fire is 85% contained and has burned 422 acres, while Liberty Fire is 100% contained and burned 300 acres. Nearly 1,000 California fire departments are involved with fighting these fires.

The governor, an advocate for climate science, said via CNN: “‘With climate change, some scientists are saying that Southern California is literally burning up… So we have to have the resources to combat the fires and we also have to invest in managing the vegetation and forests … in a place that’s getting hotter’.” Many people have stated how these wild fires are becoming more of the norm, due to the effects of climate change on the region.