California wildfires

Isabella Harrop, Staff Writer

The state of California may have a bit of hope considering they are predicted to see their first precipitation since the water year, when they expect to get the most rain, began in the beginning of October.  81% of the state is considered to be “abnormally dry” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report. As everyone has heard, Southern California has had at least 58 fires ignite across the state since October 1, leading to over 115,000 acres torched. The Kincade fire forced nearly 200,000 people to evacuate. Many residents have a problem to face as the state’s largest utility reported that many families will be in the dark. They want to shut down the power as a precaution because the dry and wind air could cause a fire. Costumers in the Sierra Foothills and greater San Francisco Bay area experienced power outages from Wednesday until Thursday.

Just three of the wildfires-Camp fire, Woolsey fire, and Hill Fire-caused over nine billion dollars in damage, resulting in more than 28,500 insurance claims. The fires have destroyed over 18,000 structures, which made it California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record.  Sonoma County’s vines went up in flames, luckily most of the grapes were already picked although it will still do damage to the tourism economy. Rob McMillan, executive vice president and founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s wine division, stated, “From a tourism standpoint, people will choose not to come to the vineyards.”

Parts of Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura County are under the most critical fire weather risk as it has record high temperatures through the region and humidity below 10%. A small bush fire broke out in Topanga, which led to four acres burned to nothing. Firefighters got it contained 100% after five hours of fighting it. Critically dry weeds and grasses that grew after the rainy season, combined with the dead vegetation from years of drought, are a serious concern during these weather conditions. Sadly, this is not over until the weather conditions start to cool down; until then, the fires will most likely continue.