California Fires

Destroyed up to 1,000 structures already

California Fires

Rowan Burns, Staff Writer

Recently, Southern California has been experiencing terrifyingly large wildfires. However, on December 4, 2017 at 6:28 pm, the fire by the name of Thomas swept through the forests of California. The fire burned hundreds of homes and businesses, causing many citizens of California to have to evacuate. To make matters worse, the Santa Ana winds were incredibly strong, getting up to 40 mph, adding fuel to the fire. Luckily however, the Santa Ana winds started to die down, but did not last long. Soon the fire reemerged stronger than ever, destroying even more homes and property.

Experts believe that the Thomas fire was so monstrous not only because of the heavy Santa Ana winds, but also due to the fact that the brush has not been burned for decades, which provided fuel to the fire. Steve Swindle commented “The fuels in there are thick and they’re dead, so they’re very receptive to fire” and can spread the fire even when the winds aren’t strong. Another factor that made the fire so destructive was the dry and difficult terrain of the forests. This poses many issues for firefighters who cannot get to people on the ground to fight the western side of the fire. Many firefighters stationed themselves in residential neighborhoods just in case the fire began to move downhill. They believe that this could be an issue that could be prevalent for the years to come.

The Thomas fire has spread in many different directions in the past week, spreading to Ventura, Ojai, and Santa Barbara County. Due to the fire’s complexity, many men and women have been put to work, spraying water on the fire. The fire has destroyed 524 structures and damaged 135 structures in Ventura. In Ventura County, 266 structures were destroyed and 56 were damaged. Hopefully, in the days to come, the winds will die down, but experts still state that the fire could take weeks to months to fully end.