Forest fires can cause incredible devastation in California
Los Angeles County firefighter Michael Dubron gives insight.
The californians in the vicinity of a series of forest fires that continue to spread across the southern part of the state are encouraged to wear masks because of hazardous air conditions. At least three people were injured from the fire.
The Carpinteria High School gym was packed Thursday night as concerned residents of the oceanside city near Santa Barbara fear that they could be next on the path of the huge Thomas fire — the largest and most destructive fire in the state in which it is burned with 115,000 acres since Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Dangerous is the worst rating that the air quality has,” said Polly Baldwin, medical director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, during a town hall meeting with the crowd. She urged the local population to no face masks outside when the air quality in the city, north of Los Angeles, continues to worsen.
Santa Barbara County fire officials said the fire has not yet reached county lines, but residents should be prepared, according to the newspaper.
Further to the south in San Diego County, teaching at multiple schools were canceled Friday after a fire broke out a day earlier amid hot, dry and windy conditions in the region.
Dec. 8, 2017: Flames consume a tree as the Lilac fire is lit in Bonsall, Calif.
Retirement communities built on golf courses, semi-rural race horse stables and other usually serene sites were engulfed by flames as a result.
Three people were burned while escaping, the Captain said Nick Schuler of the California Department of Forestry and fire protection. Two firefighters also received minor injuries battling the burning, Cal Fire, San Diego added.
The National Weather Service on Thursday also a red-flag warning through the weekend in much of Southern California, which indicates a “critical” fire conditions exist in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
“If fire ignition occurs, there will be the potential for a very rapid spread of the wildfire with a long-range spotting and extreme fire behavior that can lead to a threat to life and property,” the weather service warned.
Fire officials warned strong winds can help to fan the dangerous flames in a blaze that develops.
“These winds are pretty much unprecedented,” Los Angeles County Fire Battalion Chief Trent Aronson told Fox News on Thursday.
Firefighters in Ventura— 130 miles to the north — tried to corral the Thomas Fire on Thursday, which has grown to 180 square kilometers and destroyed 430 buildings. Crews made enough progress in fighting large fires in Los Angeles to lift most evacuation orders, according to The Associated Press.
Dec. 7, 2017: Fire personnel drive along West Lilac Road as well as the Lilac Fire is lit in the near Bonsall, Calif., in San Diego County.
(AP/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
In the meantime the fire north of San Diego, driven by the winds above 35 km / h, levelled rows of caravans in a retirement community, leaving charred and mangled metal in its wake.
It was not immediately known what led to the fire in addition to the State Highway 76, but strong winds carried it across six lanes to the other side.
Evacuations were ordered near the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base and schools, and casinos were used as a shelter.
Cynthia Olvera, 20, took shelter at Fallbrook high School.
She had on her Bonsall at home with her younger sister and cousin when her father called from the family farm to say that the fire reached the gates of their sprawling property.
After starting to drive away, the family turned to in order to recover a forgotten personal documents — but it was too late. The trees were on fire and the flames were within 10 metres of the house.
“I had not imagined it would move so fast,” she told The Associated Press.
Dec. 7, 2017: A fireman fights a forest fire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, California.
As the flames approached the elite of San Luis Rey Downs training facility for thoroughbreds, many of the more than 450 horses were cut loose in order to avoid that they are caught in their barns as barns caught fire, said Mac McBride, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
Herds of horses drove past flaming palm trees in their chaotic flight of a normally idyllic place. Not all survived.
Horse trainer Scott Hansen said that he knows that some of his 30 horses at the facility died.
“I don’t know how much his life is, and how many are dead,” he said. “I think I will have to find out in the morning.”
All of Friday’s races at Los Alamitos race course were cancelled, as the racing community mourned.
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.