The SoCal Wildfires Are Now Larger Than New York City And Boston Combined
As CNN pointed out, the Thomas Fire, which presently covers 230,000 acres, is now the fifth largest blaze in modern California history. The fire slipped from 15% containment to 10% early Monday as it surged into the foothills of Santa Barbara county.
But perhaps even more staggering, the SoCal fires are presently covering an area larger than New York City and Boston combined.
As the map below – courtesy of CNN – shows, the six blazes vary in size.
Thomas Fire: It had scorched 230,000 acres by Sunday evening, with about 10% of it contained. It started Monday in Ventura County, and has since spread into Santa Barbara County. The fire has surpassed the 1932 Matilija Fire -- which burned 220,000 acres -- to become Ventura County's largest recorded blaze, according to CalFire. It has destroyed 790 structures and damaged 191, Ventura County Sheriff Captain Garo Kuredjian told CNN, with firefighting efforts costing $34 million by Sunday night.
Creek Fire: The second-largest blaze ignited Tuesday in neighboring Los Angeles County. It has burned 15,619 acres and is 95% contained.
Rye Fire: It broke out Tuesday in Los Angeles County and has burned 6,049 acres. Firefighters are making progress, with 93% of the blaze contained.
Lilac Fire: This fast-moving fire has consumed 4,100 acres since it ignited Thursday in San Diego County. Firefighters have regained control of it, and it's 75% contained.
Skirball Fire: It started Wednesday as a brush fire in Los Angeles County. It has burned 422 acres and is now 85% contained.
Liberty Fire: The blaze in Riverside County has burned 300 acres since it ignited Thursday. It's 100% contained, but authorities are monitoring it ahead of a forecast increase in winds.
As CNN reported, one family whose home was destroyed in the Creek Fire told CNN that they had lost everything to the blaze but were grateful to be alive.
"For me, it was like my 15 years of living here was flashing by - of memories, you know, the gatherings, all that," Javier Hernandez told the station. "And then at the same time, we were like, 'OK, my family's OK. If it's gonna burn, it's gonna burn.’”
Several celebrities whose homes are being menaced by the flames have praised the firefighters working to save their communities:
Ellen Degeneres, who has a home in Montecito, tweeted that she is praying for her community: "Our house is under threat of being burned. We just had to evacuate our pets. I'm praying for everyone in our community and thankful to all the incredible firefighters," Degeneres said, adding in a later tweet that she was proud to be part of a community where people were helping each other to safety.
For anyone wishing to monitor the status of the Thomas Fire, the Federal Fire Service has published this interactive map, which can track the fire’s movements in real time.
Firefighters from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington state are helping to fight the fires.
Additionally, the Nevada Department of Corrections and Nevada Division of Forestry -which run conservation camps for inmates - have sent six trained crews to join teams of California inmates in helping fight the flames.
According to the Los Angeles Times, since it erupted near Thomas Aquinas College on Dec. 4, the Thomas fire has forced 88,000 people to flee their homes. Official estimates have put the cost of combating the blaze at $25 million.