SAU Buzz

Wildfires Continuing to Destroy Northern California

by Charles Hanley
Posted on Oct 19, 2017

It all started on Sunday, October 8, when a fire now known as the “Tubbs Fire” started near Tubbs Lane in Calistoga of Santa Rosa, California, and burned at least 34,000 acres. The Tubbs Fire became known as the sixth deadliest fire in the history of California.

Another fire had broken out on the evening of October 8, known as the “Cherokee Fire.” It ignited near Cherokee Road and quickly expanded to burn through hundreds of thousands of acres.

The wildfires blazed through Santa Rosa, a city in Northern California. More and more wildfires began to ignite through Santa Rosa and the rest of Sonoma County due to the strong winds that got as fast as up to 50 mph. Residents of Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange counties were told to evacuate their homes late at night on Monday, October 9.

People in Northeastern California had been told that it was safe to return to the area until October 14. That’s when another wildfire erupted on Highway 12. By October 14, the fires had burned through more than 212,000 acres and destroyed an estimated 5,700 structures while forcing 90,000 people to evacuate from their homes.

Since October 8, 39 people have been reported dead and at least 100 have been hospitalized while 200 have been reported missing. The non-stop wildfires have caused a majority of the area to be reduced to ash and metal pieces. More than 10,000 firefighters are working to stop these fires with the use of over 1,000 fire engines along with other equipment. The fires continue to stay alive due to strong winds. The week of October 8, 2017, has now been made known as the deadliest week of wildfires in California history.

By October 12, smoke from the wildfires had spread nearly 100 miles. Cities of Oakland, San Francisco, and San Rafael became registered cities with poor air quality. Classes and outdoor activities were cancelled in a number of areas including Danville, Redwood City, and Walnut Creek. The smoke has led to visibility issues that made the Federal Aviation Administration delay all flights in the San Francisco International Airport. This led to 280 flights being cancelled over a three day period.

It is unclear how the wildfires started but most of them began in populated areas of Northern California. About 95% of the fires in California are caused by people. California has a history of wildfires because of its low humidity and dry vegetation, and October is the month of the year where California is the most dry.