Wildfires are California’s ‘new normal’


National News

August 1, 2018 - 9:13 AM

LOS ANGELES — This is the new normal: There are 15 serious wildfires burning throughout California, including one of the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history.
Firefighters this month have been laboring under triple-digit temperatures and dry conditions to gain control over fires that have burned indiscriminately through residential neighborhoods, rolling hills and steep, forested terrain. The flames are stoked by dry brush and areas of dead trees, some of which haven’t burned in decades. As of Tuesday, 12,300 firefighters were on the lines battling infernos that have burned more than 280,000 acres across the state.
“It’s a horrendous battle,” said Scott McLean, a deputy chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Four men have died fighting the wildfires, and each of their deaths has highlighted the difficulties of fire containment. Two died in the Ferguson fire weeks apart, one when his bulldozer overturned and another when a falling tree struck him. In the Carr fire, an 81-year-old private bulldozer contractor and a fire prevention inspector both died in Redding after flames swept through parts of the city Thursday night. The flames and heat were so intense, they created their own weather system and tornado-like winds. Four civilians died in the same conditions.
The Carr fire in Shasta County had burned 110,154 acres by Tuesday morning and crews increased containment to 27 percent overnight. It has destroyed at least 1,236 structures, making it the seventh most destructive and the 13th deadliest wildfire in California history, according to state figures. The majority of the damage was in west Redding and some surrounding areas. As damage assessments continue, McLean expects the fire’s ranking to climb even higher.
About 10,000 Carr fire evacuees were allowed back into their homes on Monday, but 27,000 remained displaced.
 as of Tuesday morning, McLean said.

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