Thus far, recent fires in California have covered an area of about 260,000 acres. Meanwhile the Thomas Fire, which was ranked as the 5th largest fire in California state history, continues to burn at only 20% containment and covering 234,000 acres alone. 20% is up from Monday’s 15% as around 7,000 firefighters (some from nearby states including Utah, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, and Washington) work effortlessly to keep momentum in their battle against the blazes.
Since our last story covering the fires, statistics have now been updated to show that upwards of 1,000 buildings have been completely destroyed, and many more sustained damage. A statistic released by Southern California Edison, an electric services company, stated the inferno has also managed to cut power to more than 85,000 California residents. At this point the casualties remain at just one person due to a crash along an evacuation route.
This is now the most expensive year for wildfires in U.S. history. Costs are estimated to have exceeded $10 billion dollars before the recent December fires had even been sparked. Yesterday we found that $34 million has already been spent on the Thomas Fire alone, and that statistic has now been updated to reflect $48 million, with the end still far from sight.
25,000 homes are now labeled at risk of damage by the California fires. A combination of of strong winds and low humidity continues to pose a great threat as firefighters struggle to keep the fires contained. Another problem lies within the amount of dead or dying trees around California caused by drought and pests. A document released by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention announced a record breaking number of 129 million dead trees across 8.9 million acres. The dead and dying trees pose a significant threat as fires rage since they burn easily as they are poorly hydrated if at all.