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Southern California's latest wildfires rage with little progress reported


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Southern California's latest wildfires rage with little progress reported

 

2020-10-27T200302Z_1_LYNXMPEG9Q1V0_RTROPTP_4_USA-WILDFIRES-CALIFORNIA.JPG

Firefighters face strong winds as they head up a hillside to battle a wind driven wildfire near Irvine, California, U.S., October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 

(Reuters) - Firefighters in Southern California reported little headway on Tuesday against two explosive, wind-whipped wildfires that forced the evacuations of tens of thousands of residents and badly injured two crew members on the front lines.

 

Howling Santa Ana winds, blowing hot, dry air from the desert, had put much of the fire-ravaged state under red-flag warnings and helped quickly spread two blazes in Orange County that erupted on Monday.

 

But by midday on Tuesday, winds that had accelerated the Orange County fires had settled down to 5 to 10 miles per hour (8 to 16 kph), with occasional gusts of up to 20 mph (32 kph), the National Weather Service said. Winds were forecast to weaken further and remain light for at least the next two days, it said.

 

More than 750 firefighters using 14 helicopters managed to contain only 5% of the Silverado fire, which grew overnight to 11,200 acres (4,500 hectares) from 7,200 acres (2,900 hectares) late on Monday, the Orange County Fire Authority said.

 

More than 750 firefighters using 14 helicopters managed to contain only 5% of the Silverado fire, while a second fire, the Blueridge fire, charred roughly 8,000 acres. This report produced by Jonah Green.

 

Two firefighters were critically injured fighting the blaze, with second- and third-degree burns over much of their bodies, the OCFA said.

 

The blaze, which was not immediately blamed for any property loss, may have been started by equipment owned by Southern California Edison <SCE_pe.A>, the utility company said.

 

"It appears that a lashing wire attached to a telecommunications line may have contacted SCE's power line above it, possibly starting the fire," a company spokesman said.

 

The incident is being investigated, he added.

 

As a precautionary measure, the utility said on Tuesday that it had cut power to nearly 19,000 homes and businesses, including about 1,270 in Orange County.

 

The fire in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains south of Los Angeles prompted officials to order more than 90,000 residents to leave their homes on Monday in and around the city of Irvine, officials said. The Irvine Unified School District closed schools for the day.

 

The other Orange County blaze, the Blue Ridge fire, which broke out later near Yorba Linda, also spread quickly overnight, charring 15,200 acres (6,150 hectares) by Tuesday morning, OCFA said.

 

Some 1,000 firefighters had yet to set up any containment lines around the blaze, which damaged 10 homes and is threatening thousands more, OCFA said.

 

No injuries have been linked to the Blue Ridge fire so far, but authorities ordered residents of more than 8,700 homes in Yorba Linda, Chino Hills and Brea to evacuate.

 

Wildfires this year have ravaged California, scorching more than 6,400 square miles (16,500 square km) - equivalent to the land mass of the state of Hawaii - since the start of the year, with 31 lives lost and thousands of homes destroyed.

 

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Giles Elgood and Peter Cooney)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-10-28
 
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19 minutes ago, Tug said:

Those Santa Anna’s can really blow hard and hot not good during a fire

Didn't Belinda Carlisle sing about them in "Summer Rain"?

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On 10/28/2020 at 7:06 AM, Lacessit said:

This is not due to climate change, of course. It's just an act of God.

Not an act of god (no cap being an atheist) but a natural occurrence...fierce Santa Ana winds blow every Fall across the Southern California region and have done since records have been kept.

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1 hour ago, Pattaya Spotter said:

Not an act of god (no cap being an atheist) but a natural occurrence...fierce Santa Ana winds blow every Fall across the Southern California region and have done since records have been kept.

Fierce Santa Ana winds are blowing with more velocity as it warms from global warming.  The extreme weather caused by climate change warming producing longer dry periods and more evaporation intensifying drought and forest fire. It comes down to climate change dah. 

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9 minutes ago, Eric Loh said:

Fierce Santa Ana winds are blowing with more velocity as it warms from global warming.  The extreme weather caused by climate change warming producing longer dry periods and more evaporation intensifying drought and forest fire. It comes down to climate change dah. 

The geological record shows that California and the American West have had periods of "mega-droughts" lasting hundreds of years in the past and that annual forest fires were much larger in the past before extensive human settlement, when attempts were made to artificially "control" them. The area has always been a place of extreme climate and weather events.

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15 minutes ago, Eric Loh said:

Fierce Santa Ana winds are blowing with more velocity as it warms from global warming.  The extreme weather caused by climate change warming producing longer dry periods and more evaporation intensifying drought and forest fire. It comes down to climate change dah. 

 

Thank God climate change will reduce the Santa Ana winds both in intensity and duration.

 

Geophysical Research Letters  Volume 46, Issue 5 2019

 

Dry and gusty Santa Ana winds (SAWs) drive the most catastrophic wildfires in Southern California. Their sensitivity to changing climate has been a matter of uncertainty and debate. We have assessed the response of SAW activity to global warming and describe these results in detail here. The overall decrease in SAW activity robustly projected by downscaled global climate models is strongest in the early and late seasons—fall and spring.

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14 minutes ago, Pattaya Spotter said:

The geological record shows that California and the American West have had periods of "mega-droughts" lasting hundreds of years in the past and that annual forest fires were much larger in the past before extensive human settlement, when attempts were made to artificially "control" them. The area has always been a place of extreme climate and weather events.

Record also show that frequency and severity of the state's 9 most destructive wild fires out of 20 happened since 2015.   Severe drought due to climate warming killed trees leaving highly flammable materials. Global warming exacerbate the problem. 

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1 hour ago, Eric Loh said:

Record also show that frequency and severity of the state's 9 most destructive wild fires out of 20 happened since 2015.   Severe drought due to climate warming killed trees leaving highly flammable materials. Global warming exacerbate the problem. 

Records that go back what, a few decades...maybe 150 years at most; I'm talking about the past 100,000 years or more. 

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