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Cal Fire Heli Replenishes Water Tank During Butte Fire Operations (Gov.ca.gov)
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Acting Governor Gavin Newsom Declares State of Emergency due to Fires

Multiple Fires Continue to Rip Across Different Parts of the ‘Smoky’ State

By Sean Brown, November 9, 2018 1:14 pm

In an already horrific streak of fires devastating the state of California throughout 2018, it appears the worst is not yet behind us. Today, acting Governor Gavin Newsom issued a State of Emergency for Los Angeles and Ventura counties due to the effects of the Hill and Woolsey fires.

The rampant blaze has already destroyed hundreds of homes, threatened critical infrastructure and caused the evacuation of residents.

Today’s emergency proclamation, comes only one day after a similar proclamation was issued yesterday regarding the northern burning Butte County fire. In that proclamation, a letter was sent to “the President and Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting a Presidential Emergency Declaration for Direct Federal Assistance to support the communities impacted by wildfires burning across the state, including the Camp, Hill, Woolsey and Nurse fires.”

The status of the Butte fire remains dire as sources are reporting only 5% of the blaze is currently contained. Furthermore, nearly 110 square miles have been burned, 52,000 people evacuated and unfavorable conditions continue to whip the fire into a fast-moving wrecking machine.

According to the Associated Press, Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean said the exact amount of structures burned remains fully undetermined. “Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed,” McLean said before adding “it’s that kind of devastation.” The town of paradise – roughly 30,000 people, lies just southeast of where the fire ignited. Sadly, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that five people have been killed in Paradise, perishing in cars that were engulfed by the flames.

During a news conference today, Director of the California Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci, described the scale and intensity of the event as “unbelievable” and “heartbreaking.”

As far as the LA County fire, no casualties have been reported; however, the blaze has jumped the 101 Freeway at Chesebro Road expanding its territory to over 14,000 acres.

“A total of 88,000 residents were evacuated from their homes — 45,000 from Ventura County and 43,000 from L.A. County. It’s believed another 60,000 residents south of the 101 Freeway were in the process of evacuating between the 101 and the ocean.” Reported by ABC7.

The causes of both fires remain under investigation.

Sean Brown

Before becoming a writer for the California Globe, Sean served as a Legislative Director in the New York City Council and is an NYU alumnus.
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