"This is kind of the new normal," California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said Saturday of the massive wildfires in Southern California that have claimed at least one life and burned tens of thousands of acres. "With climate change, some scientists are saying that Southern California is literally burning up," Brown continued. "So we have to have the resources to combat the fires and we also have to invest in managing the vegetation and forests ... in a place that's getting hotter."
Fires in the northern part of the state this fall killed more than 40 people and burned more than 8,000 structures. Dry, windy conditions have made the blazes now burning near Los Angeles difficult to contain. Bonnie Kristian
The six wildfires sweeping through Southern California have claimed their first victim, authorities announced Friday. An unidentified 70-year-old woman was killed in a car crash Wednesday as she attempted to evacuate ahead of the flames.
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) December 8, 2017
The fires are expected to grow this weekend thanks to seasonal Santa Ana winds, with gusts that could exceed 50 mph in the mountains near San Diego. About 160,000 acres have already been burned by the six fires combined. More than 200,000 people have evacuated their homes, and some 8,700 firefighters are battling the blazes. Bonnie Kristian
Firefighters are continuing to battle blazes in Ventura and Los Angeles counties that broke out earlier this week, forcing more than 200,000 people to evacuate and destroying at least 160 structures.
The Thomas Fire in Ventura County is headed toward Ojai, and authorities said they are concerned the winds and dry air could fuel the flames for weeks. It has already burned 96,000 acres and is just five percent contained. While two smaller fires that broke out in San Bernardino County are now fully contained, two new fires erupted in Riverside and San Diego counties Thursday morning and afternoon. The Lilac Fire in northern San Diego County has already scorched 2,500 acres and torched 20 structures, fire officials said, the flames fanned by strong winds and growing at a "dangerous" rate. In Riverside County, the Liberty Fire has burned 300 acres in Murrieta and destroyed one building; as of Thursday evening it is five percent contained. Catherine Garcia
The home that Peanuts creator Charles Schulz built in Santa Rosa burned down Monday as devastating wildfires swept across Northern California, his son, Monte Schulz, said Thursday.
Charles Schulz's widow, Jean Schulz, 78, was able to escape before the flames engulfed the house, built by the Schulz family in the 1970s. Charles Schulz lived there until he died in 2000, and any Peanuts memorabilia that was in the house was destroyed. "The fire came by at two in the morning," Monte Schulz told The Associated Press. "Everything's gone."
Most of Schulz's original Peanuts artwork and memorabilia are at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, which is in Santa Rosa but was safe from the blaze. Monte Schulz lives 300 miles away in Santa Barbara, but his brother, Craig, still lives in Santa Rosa, and also lost his home in the fire. Catherine Garcia
The wind-driven fires north of San Francisco that have killed at least 10 people and burned down 1,500 structures have also destroyed several wineries, hitting an industry vital to the region's economy.
Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, known for its outdoor sculpture garden and sweeping views, has burned down, as has Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma and Frey Vineyards in Mendocino County's Redwood Valley, known for producing organic and biodynamic wines. The Atlas Fire is raging through Napa's Stag's Leap District, known as the "premier cabernet sauvignon growing region," the San Francisco Chronicle says, and at least one winery, Signorello Estates, has been destroyed. Several wineries remain under threat.
The fires will have a devastating impact on the wine industry, with Napa Valley wine country the epicenter. For vineyards that are completely destroyed and have to be replanted, it will take three to five years for the vines to bear fruit, and at wineries were the vineyards aren't damaged, smoke could taint the grapes. At this time of year, most wineries are almost done with their harvests, and thousands of bottles of inventory and vintages of wine in barrels have likely been destroyed. Wineries in Napa Valley employ 46,000 people, the Chronicle reports, and in 2016, more than 3.5 million people visited the region, bringing in $80.3 million in tax revenue. Catherine Garcia
Authorities say at least 10 people have died and more than 1,500 structures have been destroyed as at least 14 fires rage across eight counties in Northern California.
Tens of thousands of residents have evacuated from their homes in Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Mendocino, and other counties north of San Francisco. Combined, five of the largest fires have burned more than 70,000 acres, and entire subdivisions, like Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, have burned to the ground.
While there was a substantial amount of rain last winter, the vegetation in the area is still dry due to the years-long drought. The flames are moving swiftly, thanks to high winds, warm temperatures, and low humidity, and the smoke is reaching San Francisco and San Jose. Many of the fires started Sunday night, and officials are investigating what caused them. Catherine Garcia
The La Tuna fire in Los Angeles has become the "largest fire in the history of L.A. city in terms of its acreage," said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on Saturday. The wildfire has spread to more than 5,000 acres, prompting hundreds of evacuations and destroying three buildings so far.
— 89.3 KPCC (@KPCC) September 3, 2017
Yikes, this shot of the La Tuna Canyon fire, one of the largest wildfires in LA history (Kyle Grillot/Reuters) pic.twitter.com/6nq2EcUgTK
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) September 3, 2017
About 800 firefighters — beset by high temperatures, low humidity, and volatile winds — have managed to get the blaze 10 percent contained as of Sunday morning. This is just one wildfire of many currently burning in western states including California, Oregon, and Washington. Bonnie Kristian
Large wildfires are burning in Western states including California, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, requiring evacuations and road closures. Firefighting efforts are complicated by hot weather with low humidity, as well as "very steep and rugged terrain."
— BLM Oregon (@BLMOregon) August 30, 2017
Much of the region, even in areas relatively distant from the fires, is dealing with heavy smoke that is raising health concerns and disrupting outdoor events. "There aren't even the correct health categories to describe what they're seeing," said air quality specialist Saran Coefield of the smoke in one Montana town. Bonnie Kristian