Gov. Jerry Brown of California has placed both Lake and Napa counties under a state of emergency on Sunday, Sept. 13 as wildfires continued to destroy hundreds of homes and buildings and forced thousands of people to evacuate.
Dubbed as "Valley fire," the destructive uproar of fire began on Saturday, Sept. 12 on the Cobb Mountain. The strong and fast winds that run for approximately 20 miles per hour drove the fires toward Middletown and the nearby areas. In a matter of hours, about 50 percent of the town had been put down.
This latest wildfire incident is now regarded as the most catastrophic among the blazes of fire that have shattered the western parts of the U.S., which has been affected by drought this summer.
According to fire officials, approximately 50,000 acres (20,200 hectares) of land in the suburban Lake County have been affected by the Valley fire since it first sparked on Saturday. With this, thousands of residents from Cobb, Middletown, Harbin Hot Springs and Hidden Valley Lake evacuated to restaurants, evacuations centers and houses of friends located in the proximal areas of Calistoga and Kelseyville while they wait for news regarding the fate of their houses, pets and properties.
The wildfires were so massive and strong that four firefighters had to be admitted in the hospital after sustaining second-degree burns during the early stages of the flames. They were reported to be in a stable condition the following day. No other cases of casualties were documented, said Amy Head, a spokesperson from Cal Fire.
The surge of drought and heat wave that transpired recently had caused lands to become so dry and extremely combustible that the best abilities of the firefighters to contain the fire had been restrained, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesperson from Cal Fire.
"This is how the conditions are in California right now," said Lynne Tolmachoff, who is also from Cal Fire. Aggravated by the low humidity and temperatures, about four years of drought, the condition in the state has gone extreme.
Since January 2015, about 6,800 wildfires that have burned down approximately 545,000 acres (220,554 hectares) of land were responded to by the California firefighters, said Berlant. Cal Fire, specifically, has responded to 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) of those fires, which is 1,500 (607 hectares) more than the average. As per the scope of the land responded to, Cal Fire was able to handle 150,000 acres (60,703 Hectares), compared with the annual average of 80,000 acres (32,375 hectares).
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