The Westfield Voice

The Student News Site of Westfield State University

The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

California Ablaze

The Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest near in California began on Aug. 17, 2013 and is under investigation. The fire has consumed approximately 149, 780 acres and is 15% contained. U.S. Forest Service photo.

Firefighters around Paradise, California were dispatched to a vegetation fire early Thursday morning, Nov. 8. This vegetation fire, named Camp Fire, is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history.

Located north of the state capital building in Sacramento, Butte County, Camp Fire is burning through a total of 135,000 acres. Only 35% of the flames are being contained.

This fire started a ripple effect, causing two more fires located in Southern California. The Woolsey Fire, located in Los Angeles County and the Hill Fire, located in Ventura County. These fires have caused serious harm to residents, animals and homes.

Although the cause of these fires is still unknown, speculation around Pacific Gas and Electric’s failure to inspect and maintain its power lines was enough reason for a lawsuit.

Pacific Gas and Electric’s headquarters, located in San Francisco, CA.

PG&E announced two days before the fires began they would look into shutting down power to parts of Butte County due to high winds and low humidity, but never did. The company later put out a statement stating, “We can’t speculate the cause of the fire. There will be an investigation.”

As of Wednesday morning, Nov. 14, officials have announced 44 people dead due to the fires. 200 are still missing.

Although these fires are still raging through California, the Hill Fire is the most contained at 94% with 4,531 acres burned. The Woolsey Fire, located adjacent to the the Hill Fire, has burned through 97,620 acres with only 47% of the fire being contained.

As firefighters have been battling these three fires since last Thursday, another fire ignited overnight Tuesday in Southern California. The fourth fire, named the Sierra Fire, grew to 147 acres by Wednesday morning with only 75% of it being contained. This fire started in the mountains and desert area, but was fanned by the Santa Ana winds to the Los Angeles area.

Residents evacuated from their homes immediately, fearing the fire may reach their homes before firefighters could contain them.

The town of Paradise, CA falls victim to the flames as it continues to take entire homes.
(Photo accredited to NPR)

Many of these residents are celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Caitlyn Jenner and Lady Gaga. Few have yet to be allowed back into their homes. However, in some areas where the fires have been contained, homeowners have been given the opportunity to access what is left of their home.

For some, like famous singer Miley Cyrus, entire homes have been destroyed. Cyrus tweeted Monday, “My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family and friends stand strong.” Cyrus and fiance, Liam Hemsworth have since donated 500K to Malibu relief.

Many residents will have to pick up the pieces of their lives and start anew as firefighters are still battling these ferocious fires.

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