If you haven’t heard, this past week has been rough in Southern California. On Monday night, a massive wildfire broke out in my hometown of Ventura, California. In just a matter of hours, the fire engulfed thousands of acres and burned hundreds of homes as well as several businesses and schools. As I write this blog, I know of at least 6 friends and family members that have lost their homes as a result of the fire and many more structures are expected to burn as the fire progresses.
Although the threat of wildfires is usually highest in the late summer and early fall, the lack of rain and Santa Ana Winds (strong and extremely dry down-slope winds) have caused the fire to spread rapidly. Dry brush and plants, a result from Southern California’s drought, likely rubbed together from the extreme winds and ignited the fire. This fire is also particularly difficult to put out because the strong winds and heavy smoke have prevented helicopters from being able to fly above the flames and drop water. According to Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen, “Really, Mother Nature’s going to decide when we have the ability to put the fire out.”
Not only has the fire damaged hundreds of structures, it has also contaminated the water and caused major power outages in the area. The Casitas Municipal Water District urged residents in Ventura County to boil their water before drinking and cooking due to possible contamination from the loss of pressure as a result of fire-related power outages.
Currently, the harsh conditions has kept the fire at 0% containment causing it to continue to spread. This fire is truly an example of human’s helplessness against nature and serves as a warning for worse to come.