Northern California’s fire crisis

Jesse Sutterley, News Editor

It is not uncommon for people in California to hear about a fire at least once in the summer. However in the past few weeks two fires have devastated the state.

The Valley fire located in Lake County has burned 61,000 acres is 5% contained and has destroyed 400 structures and threatens 9,000 as of 2:45 pm September 14th. There is also one confirmed death from the fire as a woman’s body was found.

The Butte fire located in El Dorado County has burned over 71,000 acres is 30% contained and has destroyed a total of 214 structures as of 9:30 am September 14th.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for four separate counties in the state. In an interview with CNN Brown stated, “We are really in a battle with nature and nature is more powerful than we are.”

The Napa County Fairgrounds has turned into a “tent city” as evacuees settle, some still do not know if their homes still stand.

“I have dozens of friends and acquaintances that were asked to evacuate the area,” said  Sebastian Schepis, 41 and former resident of the area. “This is the first fire of this magnitude that has swept the area in recent history. Hundreds of homes have been lost so far and hundreds of homes may yet burn. I don’t think anyone can truly be prepared for such an event. We all know that a single house can burn down, but losing entire neighborhoods to a fire is an event whose magnitude is hard to conceive.”

Police have told evacuees to be aware of scammers and thieves pretending to be news crews attempting to get the addresses of vacant homes in the damaged areas. There are over 6,000 fire fighters battling both blazes attempting to get the fires under control while the conditions remain favorable.

Four years of draught have also contributed to the severity of the fires with large, dry woodland areas still in the fire’s path. Ken Pimlott Director of Cal Fire indicated to CNN that fire season will not be ending any time in the next few months and that Cal Fire is prepared to use all of its resources to continue to fight the blaze.