Efforts to Curb Wildfires: What You Need To Know

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) recently announced that the River Fire has been fully contained. Located in Monterey County, south of Salinas, this fire began on August 16, 2020, burning more than 48,000 acres and destroying over 30 structures. While extinguishing this blaze, 4 firefighters were unfortunately injured but are on the road to recovery. Evacuation orders have been lifted, although outdoor activities are strongly discouraged, as the air quality in the Bay Area still lingers at 100-200 AQI, an unhealthy level.

The LNU Lightning Complex in the Wine Country area of Northern California that started on August 17, 2020 has burned over 363,000 acres, and is 95% contained as of the morning of September 12, according to CAL FIRE. It has been reported that a total of 5 residents have died, 5 firefighters are hospitalized, and over 1,500 buildings have been damaged or destroyed. Some displaced residents are permitted to return to their homes, but at their own risk.

CAL FIRE announces that the SCU Lightning Complex, located at Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, and Stanislaus counties, still remains at 98% containment. Reports have shown that since the beginning of August 16, 2020, over 200 structures have been demolished, and more than 396,000 acres have been burned,  although 100% containment is expected within a couple of days. 5 firefighters were injured while battling the wildfires, but are presumed to recover soon. Evacuation orders have been lifted.
Beginning on August 17, 2020, the CZU August Lightning Complex at San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties has burned more than 86,500 acres, and is at 86% containment, announces CAL FIRE. Furthermore, around 1,500 structures have been destroyed while 140 have been damaged, and officials have also reported 1 death and 1 injury; the injured firefighter is hospitalized and expected to be released soon. Evacuation orders for the City of Scotts Valley have been lifted, although these orders have only been reduced to warnings in other areas. 

The Creek Fire, which started on September 5, 2020, is located at the Sierra National Forest. This fire has burned more than 196,000 acres, with only 6% containment, CAL FIRE reports. Over 360 buildings were destroyed, and it has also been revealed that 1,000 people have been trapped near a reservoir in Fresno County. Helicopters have been rushing to save them nonstop, so therefore it is expected that they will all be rescued quite soon. As firefighters continue to fight against this blaze, it is essential that everyone abides by the Spare the Air Day rules–staying indoors and limiting the burning of wood–to aid their efforts.  

When evacuation orders are mandatory, residents may only have a short period of time to think about what they need to bring along with them as they leave their homes, so it is important to pack a bag with all the basic essentials.

  • First aid kit
  • Battery radio
  • Gallons of drinking water 
  • 3 days’ worth of food
  • Wallet (with emergency cash/credit card) and keys
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Medication or hearing aids
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Checkbooks and bills
  • Important hygiene items
  • Irreplaceable/valuable possessions
  • Passport/ID
  • Insurance, financial, medical data
  • Pillows, sleeping bags, and blankets
  • Layered clothing 

Although currently the fires are still raging and the sky is blanketed in layers of grey smoke, it is crucial that we keep a positive outlook in regards to this situation. The firefighters are trying their best to battle the blazes, and it is certain that somewhere in the future, the fires will be extinguished, the smoke will eventually clear, and everything will return to normal once again. 

“There is a light at the end of every tunnel. Some tunnels just happen to be longer than others.”–Ada Adams  

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