Once again, southern California is engulfed in flames. So far, four fires have scorched a combined 116,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The most frightening blaze is the Thomas fire, which grew to 90,000 acres, or 140.6 square miles, as of Wednesday evening. Unfortunately, none are close to being contained, according to the Los Angeles fire department.
According to The New York Times, roadways are shut and nearly 200,000 people have been told to evacuate their homes. Because the skies are black with smoke, hundreds of schools have been closed for the week.
So far, more than 300 homes, businesses, and other buildings have been destroyed. Due to heavy fire and smoke, the 101 freeway — the main coastal route north from Los Angeles — has been closed.
At least three firefighters have been injured and hours ago, the first body was found in a fire-swept territory. According to weather experts, the wind gusts could reach 80 mph today, which could exacerbate the natural disaster.
For days, emergency crews have worked to contain the fires. They’ve battled brisk winds, steep terrain, and fatigue from minimal sleep. Their efforts are applaudable but, unfortunately, aren’t quite enough. Said Armando Hogan, an assistant Los Angeles fire chief: “I’ve got to be honest, we’re concerned about everything.”
Fortunately, the firefighters are not giving up. Thousands have been dispatched to the state and will continue battling the blaze until it is extinguished. As you enjoy your safe and secure home this holiday season, count your blessings and consider donating to organizations that will help victims rebuild their lives after the fires are contained.
Following are 15+ gut-wrenching photos of the California wildfires:
2) Fire engulfs a hillside outside of Los Angeles
3) A house stands engulfed in flames from the Thomas Fire
4) A house sits atop a hill, engulfed in flames from the Creek Fire, in Los Angeles
5) A structure burns from the Creek Fire in Los Angeles
6) A woman involved in a traffic accident waits beside a wall of flames on the 101 highway
7) A man uses a hose to extinguish burning ground in Los Angeles