A Year After Paradise, Identical Conditions Spark More Wildfires in California
Last week marked the 1-year anniversary of the deadly Camp Fire that killed 85 people in Northern California and destroyed an entire town. To make matters worse, recovery efforts have also been slow as aid has slowed and many residents are still facing severe housing shortages as well as food insecurity. Trauma and anger at PG&E–the utility found liable for the spark that caused the fire–run deep and is echoed by Californians across the state grappling with similar threats. Now, almost like clockwork, high wind and dryness are creating the perfect storm for more wildfires. This week, PG&E, as well as Southern California Edison, once again cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers in anticipation of wildfires, a threat that was realized as fires sparked from Sonoma County all the way down to Los Angeles.
The State of Fires: As of writing this last night, CNN reported the following updates on the fires:
- The latest: Firefighters in Los Angeles, Sonoma and San Bernardino counties are battling fires that have spread across the region.
- Kincade Fire: The Kincade Fire in Sonoma County has grown to roughly 10,000 acres this morning with no containment. The fire is near Geyserville, about 80 miles north of San Francisco.
- Old Water Fire: Evacuations were ordered this morning for a portion of north San Bernardino after a brush fire started at approximately 2 a.m. today.
- Tick Fire: The blaze scorched 5,000 acres and at least one building in northern Los Angeles County today.
Why This Matters: Californians are living in a constant state of uncertainty, not knowing when their lives will next be upended by a power outage or a wildfire. As San Francisco Chronicle wildfire reporter Lizzie Johnson explained, “the difficult combination of wildfires & power outages is likely to become more frequent as PG&E increasingly shuts off power to prevent fires.” Additionally, it’s still difficult to know if these planned power outages truly prevent fires as PG&E shut off distribution lines ahead of the Northern California wildfires this week but the transmission lines (which previously sparked the Camp Fire) were still live. California #FriendsOfThePlanet, please stay safe and follow evacuation orders!