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PostWildfires Rage in Southern California (Edward Jajko, USA, 12/15/17 2:28 am)
In October, I wrote about the wildfires that were devastating large parts of four California counties to the north of the San Francisco Bay. Forty three people died; 9,000 buildings were destroyed, among them 6,000 homes (the city of Santa Rosa lost 20% of its housing); and some 7,000 people fought the fires, including firefighters from all over California, including the south, as well as elsewhere in the West. Sadly, now Northern California firefighters are returning the favor.
Several fires have burned in Southern California, including the Skirball fire that burned in the wealthy area of west LA, Bel Air, closed the major 405 freeway for a while, and threatened the Getty Museum. That fire was caused by an outdoor fire at a homeless encampment by the freeway.
But the worst fire is the Thomas fire, now the fourth largest in the history of the state, and unimaginably big: sixty miles long by forty miles wide. That makes this fire bigger in area than most US cities. It is only 25% contained and, as reported in today's newspapers, those in charge of operations expect that it will burn well into the New Year. Because of high atmospheric pressure that is just sitting on California, there is no expectation of rain and winds have carried smoke from the fires almost 400 miles to the north, to the Bay Area. So far, two people have died. A quarter million acres of Southern California are burning.
JE comments: Nature's fury knows no bounds, but at least the death toll so far has been mercifully low. Let us pray the human cost does not get worse.
Nature also did its part to keep us in the United States. A series of weather-related delays in the New York area got us only as far as Miami (not Havana). It was a tiring and frustrating day. So we'll give it another go this morning: we're Off for Cuba (finally) in a couple of hours.