Cal­i­for­nia fires: ‘ Worse be­fore it gets bet­ter’

An­other blast of high winds ex­pected through week­end

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION - Trevor Hughes and Doug Stan­glin

Thou­sands of fire­fight­ers bat­tling two dozen deadly fires in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia faced an­other round of rapidly de­te­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tions Thurs­day with a fore­cast of low hu­mid­ity and winds gusts of up to 45 mph — with no hint of rain.

Con­di­tions were not ex­pected to im­prove. Winds, in­clud­ing a new round ex­pected late Fri­day into Sun­day, . may not only ham­per the ef­forts of fire­fight­ers but also in­crease the risk of new hot spots, fore­cast­ers warned.

The death toll in­creased to at least 28. About 3,500 homes and busi­nesses have been de­stroyed.

“Red flag” warn­ings of dan­ger­ous con­di­tions were in ef­fect for much of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia and have been ex­tended from Big Sur to the Santa Cruz moun­tains.

Gov. Jerry Brown has is­sued emer­gency dec­la­ra­tions for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba Butte, Lake, Men­do­cino, Ne­vada, Or­ange and Solano coun­ties.

“It’s go­ing to con­tinue to get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter,” state fire chief Ken Pim­lott warned.

The big­gest blaze, called the Tubbs Fire, was only 10% con­tained on Thurs­day.

Chaotic evac­u­a­tions and poor com­mu­ni­ca­tions have made find­ing friends and fam­ily dif­fi­cult. Sonoma County Sher­iff Robert Gior­dano said hun­dreds were still miss­ing, although of­fi­cials be­lieve many of those — al­most 400 — will be found. The death toll could climb, he said: “The dev­as­ta­tion is enor­mous. We can’t even get into most ar­eas.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.