Governor Gavin Newsom declared a new state of emergency on Thursday over two wildfires raging in the state: The Mosquito Fire in El Dorado and Placer Counties, as well as the Fairview Fire in Riverside County.
As of Friday morning, the Mosquito Fire has grown to 14,250 acres across both counties, has destroyed several homes and other structures and is 0% contained. Meanwhile, the Fairview Fire is currently blazing across 27,463 acres outside of Hemet, has already caused some fatalities, and is only at 5% containment. Both fires are also threatening nearby communities and have caused the evacuations of tens of thousands of Californians.
#MosquitoFire near Oxbow Reservoir, east of Forest Hill in Placer County is 14,250 acres and 0% contained. In Unified Command with @CALFIRENEU, @Tahoe_NF, @PlacerSheriff, and Foresthill Fire Protection District.https://t.co/XfOEpovydU pic.twitter.com/8uKViN7fmQ
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) September 9, 2022
In addition to the fires already being as large and threatening as they currently are, Newsom noted in his state of emergency proclamation that the current heat wave mixed with high winds coming in from Hurricane Kay and local authorities not having enough resources to combat the fires warranted further action. State emergency services, including more firefighters, will be utilized for both of the fires.
It has already been a busy month for wildfires in California. Last week, Newsom had also declared a state of emergency over the Mill Fire in Siskiyou County, which, as of Friday, is 80% contained. And earlier this week, Newsom had announced that the Fairview Fire would receive a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), largely due to the size of the fire and the danger the fire still imposes in the area.
Wildfire experts noted to the Globe on Friday that while all these proclamations and grant funding can help, the most needed thing right now are firefighters and emergency personnel in those areas.
“Newsom has been facing the challenges of wildfires in California since day 1,” explained Steven Shepherd, a wildfire crew advisor, to the Globe on Friday. “One of the first things he had to deal with after being sworn in was dealing with the aftermath of the tragic Camp Fire, and here three and a half years later, he is still declaring state of emergencies seemingly every week over a new wildfire threat. They do pave the way for more help, but these fires were already huge days ago. The Fairview Fire in particular is just outside Hemet. For the guys on the ground, we want to hear ‘help is coming now’ as soon as they get there, or more preferably, help is already here. Supplies are here. Let’s roll.”
“By now, suppressing wildfires have become a whole production, with evacuation routes, weather services, and so many other tiny factors being involved to put the fire out as quickly as possible and to minimize deaths and destruction. And, once again, the response to these fires shows that we’re still struggling to get on these quickly enough. And we have to wait on these state of emergencies to get that extra needed help. Glad we’re getting it, but, also once again, we needed it sooner than when we got it.”
Wildfire crews are expected to ramp up efforts to extinguish both the Fairview and Mosquito fires during the weekend.
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