Wildfires threaten firefighters, all over California, Newsom warns yet of ‘peak’

Wildfires continued to burn in the West Coast on Tuesday, with flames rising in one area injuring more than a dozen people in California and Creek Fire over 144,000 acres in another.

According to the US Forest Service, at least one firefighter was hospitalized in a critical condition when his remote station in Los Padres National Forest was destroyed by the flames. Others had to burn and inhale smoke.

And the worst may be yet to come.


A power line hazard along Aubry Road after the Creek Fire on Tuesday September 8, 2020, in Fresno County, California (AP Photo / Noah Berger).

“More than 2 million acres – SO FARs have been burned this year,” the California government tweeted Tuesday evening. “We haven’t even been able to hit the ‘peak’ fire season.”

According to the number provided by the governors, this year has seen more activity than previous, in terms of size and quantity of fire. In 2019, 4,927 fires engulfed approximately 118,000 acres. So far in 2020, 7,606 fires have donated over 2.3 million acres.

Over the holiday weekend, helicopters rescued hundreds of people from various parts of the Golden State, where there has been a massive fire of dry, brush-covered land and proliferation. At least two dozen of those incidents are considered “major”.

Some airplanes stranded in the Sierra National Forest were rescued by the Creek Fire. They abandoned their vehicles and flew to safety. It rocked on Friday evening and on Tuesday covered 144,000 acres of land with zero control.

“It’s probably once you were excited to hear a helicopter,” camper Kellyanne Mueller told the Associated Press. “You can almost feel a sigh of relief coming from seeing this.”

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Char Miller, a professor of environmental analysis at Pomona College, who has written extensively about wildfires, said he only sees remains of this size during floods, when people need to be evacuated from narrow canyons.

“It indicates how fast the fire was moving, as well as the physical geography of that environment along a road and a road,” Miller said. “As long as you wanted a complete human disaster, you had to move fast.”

Pacific Gas and Electric Workers stand as Creek Fire Advance on Tuesday at Highway 168, near Sept 8, 2020, Elder Springs, California.  (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Pacific Gas and Electric Workers stand as Creek Fire Advance on Tuesday at Highway 168, near Sept 8, 2020, Elder Springs, California. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

State fire officials said at least 60 homes were destroyed in the Creek Fire, with another 20 “minor” structures and at least two commercial buildings.

Authorities announced evacuation orders for the Bass Lake Basin and issued warnings in Madera and Fresno counties on Tuesday amid high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds.

On Monday, the Forest Service closed eight California forests: Stanislas, Sierra, Sequoia, Inyo, Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland. And all types of ignition sources including campfires and gas stoves are prohibited in all National Forest System assets in the state.

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“The state of wilderness throughout California is dangerous and should be taken seriously,” said Randy Moore, regional forester. “Existing fires are exhibiting extreme fire behavior, new fires are likely to start, weather conditions are deteriorating, and we do not have sufficient resources to fight fires completely and prevent every fire.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.