California fires: ‘Firefighters taking a beating’ as Santa Ana winds rage

Story highlights

  • Three National Guardsmen helping fight the wildfires have lost their homes
  •  New fire near San Diego grows quickly to between 100 and 150 acres

Carpinteria, California (CNN)The four major wildfires wreaking devastation across Southern California are wearing on the firefighters and military personnel who have been laboring nonstop to douse the blazes, one of which is now the size of Denver.

On top of exhaustion from the long hours, they’re also trying to stave off the effects of smoke inhalation and the airborne embers irritating their eyes.
“Honestly, the firefighters are taking a beating, but we have to acknowledge the residents because they’re taking a beating, too, but they’re cooperating with our orders,” said Thomas Kruschke, spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.
The state National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing out of Oxnard has also joined the fight, even though roughly 50 of the National Guardsmen involved had to be evacuated themselves, said spokeswoman Maj. Kimberly Holman. Three lost their homes in the blazes, she said.

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“We have folks who lost their homes and many who were evacuated and still they did their duty and worked to help their community,” Holman said.
The unit was grounded late Thursday morning because of turbulent winds. On Wednesday, two C-130s were able to drop about 18,000 gallons of retardant during runs in the Ojai area in Ventura County, she said.
Grounding planes is sure to complicate the arduous battle against fires that have pushed 110,000 Californians from their homes. Compounding problems Thursday were dry weather and merciless winds, with gusts predicted to reach the strength of a Category 1 hurricane in mountainous areas.
About 5,000 firefighters — half of them assigned to the massive Thomas Fire alone — have been fighting the blazes as they race across hillsides and through neighborhoods, officials said. Almost 9,000 homes are without power. Officials have shut down hundreds of schools spanning at least 15 districts.
At 96,000 acres, the Thomas Fire is roughly the size of Colorado’s capital. The blaze was 5% contained as of early Thursday.
It could go down as one of the most destructive fires in state history, and at one point, spread over 31,000 acres in the span of about nine hours — roughly an acre a second. At that rate, it would have consumed New York’s Central Park in about 15 minutes. The plume from the fire stretches 1,000 miles into the Pacific Ocean.
Together, four fires — the Thomas, Creek, Rye and Skirball — have consumed about 116,000 acres, according to the state fire summary.

AL SEIB/LOS ANGELES TIMES/GETTY IMAGES/WALLY SKALIJ/LOS ANGELES TIMES/GETTY IMAGES

Despite a brief respite, winds began picking up again Wednesday evening. A gust of 85 mph was detected in Ventura County. Forecasters say Thursday will bring gusts of 80 mph in the higher altitudes, while winds of 50 to 70 mph will make firefighters’ mission difficult in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
The humidity won’t help. It will still be low Thursday, meaning the trees and brush fueling the fires will continue to be tinder.

Latest developments

• Another fire: A blaze in San Diego prompted officials to evacuate a middle school and a high school. The fire went from about 10 acres to between 100 and 150 acres in less than an hour, fire authorities said. Two structures were destroyed, according to Cal Fire.
• New measures: Fire officials said Thursday brought a historic fire danger score and prompted them to upgrade their color-coding system to include purple for the first time.
• More evacuations: Several cities in the Ojai Valley are under mandatory evacuation. Satellite images by the National Weather Service showed the city of Ojai surrounded by fires. Nestled in the Topatopa mountains, Ojai — a bohemian village of 7,600 that prides itself on boutique hotels, mom-and-pop shops, hiking and local food — is a popular tourist draw.
• Areas of concern: Firefighters said they are keeping the Skirball Fire at bay but worry it will jump west of Interstate 405.
• School closures: More than 260 Los Angeles public and charter schools will be closed Thursday and Friday.

‘My little fire baby’

Wednesday was bittersweet for Eric Rosenberg, with his sadness at seeing his neighbors’ homes destroyed punctuated by a moment of pure joy: His wife gave birth to a healthy daughter, Mila.
As he filmed the “heartbreaking” scene in his Ventura neighborhood, where six neighbors’ homes had been reduced to rubble, he explained he had to rush back to the hospital to see his wife and newborn.
“My little fire baby decided today was the day,” he said.
On Thursday, he said his wife and child were doing well, and his home had survived the fire.
A neighbor knocked on his door early Tuesday morning and told him the fire was getting close.
“I walked out the front door, and it looked like a war zone,” Rosenberg said.
Police drove through the neighborhood announcing a mandatory evacuation around 4:30 a.m., he said. The family’s car was already packed with hospital bags, changes of clothes, laptops, photos, passports, dog food and important financial documents.
“Last trip back inside I grabbed my ketubah off the wall and headed out,” he said, using the Hebrew word for a wedding contract.
On Thursday, Rosenberg and his wife were staying with his in-laws in Carpinteria, about 25 minutes from Ventura, and “We can see the billowing smoke clouds in the distance,” he said.

Purple is the new red

The battle to contain the blaze is especially difficult on the Santa Barbara-Ventura County line, where the terrain is steep and rugged, he said. Fire officials hope to get as many as a dozen helicopters in the air Thursday, but the winds have been playing havoc on the choppers and fixed-wing aircraft, said Kruschke, the Ventura County fire official.
Officials say they will see a “recipe for explosive fire growth” and an unprecedented fire danger score. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, experts grade fire danger by measuring the moisture in dead vegetation, the temperature, wind speed and direction, and then assessing historical weather information.
A value of 48 is considered high danger, while 162 is extreme. Thursday’s score: 296, a record.
It’s not the only first that firefighters have experienced with the Southern California blazes. The scale used to measure the potency of the Santa Ana winds typically runs from gray, for little or no danger, to red, for high danger.
“The forecast for (Thursday) is purple,” said Ken Pimlott, director at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, according to CNN affiliate KCBS. “We’ve never used purple before.”

Stretching 150 square miles

The Thomas Fire in Ventura County, which sits just north and west of Los Angeles, grew significantly Wednesday to about 150 square miles. The Creek Fire in Los Angeles County has spread to more than 12,600 acres and is about 10% contained. The Rye Fire in Santa Clarita is holding at 7,000, with 15% containment, while the Skirball Fire has burned about 475 acres and is 20% contained.
“There are still a few people still in their homes in the evacuation areas, and they should come out. There are still embers that can move and catch as we have wind conditions,” Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz said of the Skirball blaze.
As of midday Thursday, the Thomas Fire had destroyed 73 residences, three commercial structures and 15 outbuildings, Cal Fire said, emphasizing that the numbers are likely to rise once officials are in a better position to assess the damage.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared an emergency for the county, freeing state resources such as the National Guard to support response efforts.

Smoky hazards

Fighting the wildfires from the air 00:45
Los Angeles authorities ordered parts of the Bel-Air district near the fire to leave, but those are just a fraction of the evacuations that have been ordered in Southern California since Monday night.
Smoke collected even in areas that weren’t burning. Health officials warned people in the heavily populated San Fernando Valley and other parts of the northern Los Angeles area to limit their time outdoors.
A video posted to Instagram shows a Los Angeles County Fire helicopter maneuvering around heavy smoke to make a water drop on the Skirball Fire.
The smoke from the fires could be seen from the International Space Station. Astronaut Randy Bresnik wrote in one tweet: “I was asked this evening if we can see the SoCal fires from space. Yes Faith, unfortunately we can. May the Santa Ana’s die down soon. #Californiawildfire.”

Courtesy: CNN

Foreign Buyers Drive Record $153 Billion of U.S. Residential Sales, Miami Top Market

Foreign Buyers Drive Record $153 Billion of U.S. Residential Sales, Miami Top Market

Dollar Volume Surges 49 Percent Annually, Florida, California, Texas Top Target States 

The National Association of Realtors is reporting that a substantial increase in sales dollar volume from Canadian buyers, foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate skyrocketed to a new record-high, as property transactions grew in each of the top five countries where buyers originated.

This is according to an annual survey of residential purchases from international buyers released this week by the National Association of Realtors, which also revealed that nearly half of all foreign sales were in three states: Florida, California and Texas.

NAR’s 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate, found that between April 2016 and March 2017, foreign buyers and recent immigrants purchased $153.0 billion of residential property, which is a 49 percent jump from 2016 ($102.6 billion) and surpasses 2015 ($103.9 billion) as the new survey high. Overall, 284,455 U.S. properties were bought by foreign buyers (up 32 percent from 2016), and purchases accounted for 10 percent of the dollar volume of existing-home sales (7 percent in 2016).

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Lawrence Yun

“The political and economic uncertainty both here and abroad did not deter foreigners from exponentially ramping up their purchases of U.S. property over the past year,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “While the strengthening of the U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies and steadfast home-price growth made buying a home more expensive in many areas, foreigners increasingly acted on their beliefs that the U.S. is a safe and secure place to live, work and invest.”

Although China maintained its top position in sales dollar volume for the fourth straight year, the significant rise in foreign investment in the survey came from a massive hike in activity from Canadian buyers. After dipping in the 2016 survey to $8.9 billion in sales ($11.2 billion in 2015), transactions from Canadians this year totaled $19.0 billion – a new high for Canada.

Yun attributes this notable rise in activity to Canadians opting to buy property in U.S. markets that are expensive but still more affordable than in their native land. While much of the U.S. continues to see fast price growth, home price gains in many cities in Canada have been steeper, especially in Vancouver and Toronto.

“Inventory shortages continue to drive up U.S. home values, but prices in five countries, including Canada, experienced even quicker appreciation,” said Yun. “Some of the acceleration in foreign purchases over the past year appears to come from the combination of more affordable property choices in the U.S. and foreigners deciding to buy now knowing that any further weakening of their local currency against the dollar will make buying more expensive in the future.”

Foreign buyers typically paid $302,290, which was a 9.0 percent increase from the median sales price in the 2016 survey ($277,380) and above the sales price of all existing homes sold during the same period ($235,792). Approximately10 percent of foreign buyers paid over $1 million, and 44 percent of transactions were all-cash purchases (50 percent in 2016).

Foreign sales rise in top five countries; three states account for nearly half of all purchases

Buyers from China exceeded all countries by dollar volume of sales at $31.7 billion, which was up from last year’s survey ($27.3 billion) and topped 2015 ($28.6 billion) as the new survey high. Chinese buyers also purchased the most housing units for the third consecutive year (40,572; up from 29,195 in 2016).

Rounding out the top five, the sales dollar volume from buyers in Canada ($19.0 billion), the United Kingdom ($9.5 billion), Mexico ($9.3 billion) and India ($7.8 billion) all increased from their levels one year ago.

This year’s survey once again revealed that foreign buying activity is mostly confined to three states, as Florida (22 percent), California (12 percent) and Texas (12 percent) maintained their position as the top destinations for foreigners, followed by New Jersey and Arizona (each at 4 percent). Florida was the most popular state for Canadian buyers, Chinese buyers mostly chose California, and Texas was the preferred state for Mexican buyers.

Sales to resident foreigners and non-residents each reach new peak

The upswing in foreign investment came from both recent immigrants and non-resident foreign buyers as each increased substantially to new highs. Sales to foreigners residing in the U.S. reached $78.1 billion (up 32 percent from 2016) and non-resident foreign sales spiked to $74.9 billion (up 72 percent from 2016).

“Although non-resident foreign purchases climbed over the past year, it appears much of the activity occurred during the second half of 2016,” said Yun. “Realtors in some markets are reporting that the effect of tighter regulations on capital outflows in China and weaker currencies in Canada and the U.K. have somewhat cooled non-resident foreign buyer interest in early 2017.”

Looking ahead, Yun believes the gradually expanding U.S. and global economies should keep foreign buyer demand at a robust level. However, it remains to be seen if both the shortage of homes for sale and economic and political headwinds end up curbing sales activity to foreigners.

“Stricter foreign government regulations and the current uncertainty on policy surrounding U.S. immigration and international trade policy could very well lead to a slowdown in foreign investment,” said Yun.

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COURTESY: WORLD PROPERTY JOURNAL

California Wildfires: As She Evacuated Patients From The Hospital, Her Home Burned

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Hundreds of homes in the Coffey Park neighborhood that were destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California.April Dembosky
KQED via NPR
October 15, 2017

Julayne Smithson was working an overnight shift in the Intensive Care Unit at the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif., when massive wildfires started racing through the city late last Sunday.

Smithson had no idea how close they were. She was too busy taking care of her patient. Then, she says, “One of the nurses came up to me and she said, ‘Julayne, I’m sorry, but your house is not going to make it.'”

Smithson, 55, recently moved from Indiana and had just bought a new home a few weeks ago. From the hospital window, she could see the flames moving through her neighborhood.

“I was so busy working the last couple of weeks that I didn’t get my insurance, which I never do. I never ever, ever go uninsured,” she says. “I kept saying, ‘Tomorrow, I’m going to do that. Tomorrow, I’m going to do that.’ ”

Smithson asked a colleague to watch her patient while she raced home to try to save a few things. The fire was a block away.

“I knew I didn’t have much time,” she says. “So I ran inside and I thought, ‘I have to get my nursing documents, because if I’m going to lose everything I own, I have to be able to work, to care for patients.'”

She grabbed the papers, a pair of scrubs and a nightgown, and raced back to the ICU. Over the next two hours, smoke filled the hospital.

“All of a sudden the police busted in the door and they said, ‘Everybody out! ‘Grab what you can carry, get your patients, and go now,'” she recalls.

One of Kaiser’s emergency room doctors took charge as the fire approached, setting up a disaster command center, and making the call to evacuate the hospital’s 130 patients.

“It’s a really challenging decision to make, one you don’t make lightly,” says Joshua Weil, Kaiser’s ER doctor in charge that night. “You have to weigh the potential risk of moving hospitalized patients and patients from the emergency department, versus the risk of keeping them where they are.”

He decided to evacuate when the fire moved suddenly toward the hospital. Firefighters told him the blaze was 100 to 200 yards from the property, posing an imminent threat to the hospital structure.

“They literally used the words, ‘We’re making the last stand,'” Weil says.

Staff immediately started assessing and triaging patients.

Patients who could walk, staff guided to a bus provided by the city. Patients who couldn’t walk, like Smithson’s critical patient, had to wait.

Nearby Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital was also evacuating, and they had close to 80 patients, so ambulances were in high demand.

“A lot of nurses and staff were putting patients in their cars and driving them to the hospital,” she says. “And then other people were carrying people on blankets, people who couldn’t walk, and putting them in cars.”

In the end, Smithson says they waited about 15 minutes for an ambulance, but it was a long 15 minutes. Her team was manually pumping air into her patient’s mouth with an air bag. A team of five had to push him, in his bed with all the monitors, through the parking lot several times to get away from fast-moving smoke and flames. His medication was running low and he was getting agitated.

“The pharmacy pre-mixes those medicines for us, but we didn’t have time to prepare extra medication for a trip like that because it just came up so fast,” she says.

Three hours passed from the moment the evacuation was called to the moment the last patient was out of the hospital, Weil says.

Smithson’s patient and others made it safely to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, about four miles away. About a hundred less critical patients were transferred to Kaiser’s hospital in San Rafael, about 40 miles away.

Beatrice Immoos was one of the nurses there getting prepped to receive the influx.

“We were essentially told that we were in a disaster situation and all ratios were out the window,” she says, meaning nurses would be assigned more patients than usually allowed under California law. “They were going to start triaging people through the ER.”

She remembers patients arriving wearing colored armbands, indicating the severity of their health status. These were likely assigned by paramedics during transport, Weil says.

“This level of disaster is a new one for us,” says Immoos. “It was very emotional, but there was a lot of resolve. Every day, nurses are always working with the common goal of taking care of our patients, and in a disaster, it’s just even more hands on deck working to get them the best treatment.”

The hospital put out calls for volunteer nurses to come help in San Rafael. Many responded, including Julayne Smithson. Her husband was supposed to fly in from Indiana in two days, but with their new home gone, she told him to wait.

“I said, ‘Well, I don’t have anywhere to go right now. And we don’t know what’s going on,'” she says. “So I said ‘I’ll go to San Rafael and help there.'”

Another nurse offered Smithson a pullout couch in a spare room. She’s been sleeping there during the day, and working 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night since the fire. She says all she wants to do right now is help patients, so she doesn’t have to think about what she’s lost.

Courtesy: News Network/Discuss

California couple hid in pool as deadly wildfires swallowed everything around them

As a deadly wildfire devoured everything around them, a California couple had to think fast – or risk certain death.

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Jan Pascoe, 65, and her husband, John, 70, were trapped in their Santa Rosa home and watched as their serene hillside view became an ominous “wall of fire,” Los Angeles Times reported.

As they desperately searched for shelter, they recalled the neighbor’s pool.

Jan called 911 and told the dispatcher she and John would be in the pool and asked officials to search for them.

“We were in survival mode,” Jan said. “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”

The couple debated jumping into the frigid, murky pool. Then a nearby tree caught on fire.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES KILL AT LEAST 31, DEADLIEST WEEK FOR FIRES IN STATE HISTORY

“The heat was ‘whoa,’” John Pascoe said. He told the Los Angeles Times he stripped down to a t-shirt and he told Jan to “jump in now.”

In this Oct. 11, 2017 photo, smoke rises from fires in Santa Rosa, Calif. Gusting winds and dry air forecast for Thursday, Oct. 12, could drive the next wave of devastating wildfires that are already well on their way to becoming the deadliest and most destructive in California history. (Derek Anderson via AP)

The devastating wildfires are already well on their way to becoming the deadliest and most destructive in California history.  (AP)

Jan entered the debris-filled water wearing pajama bottoms and a tank top. The two placed shirts over their face to avoid the embers.

The couple remained in the 4-foot-deep pool for six hours until the fire subsided.

“I just kept going under,” Jan said, “and I kept saying, ‘How long does it take for a house to burn down?’ We were freezing.”

A wildfire burns along the Highway 29 Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, near Calistoga, Calif. Officials say progress is being made in some of the largest wildfires burning in Northern California but that the death toll is almost sure to surge. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The couple held each other in the cold water of the pool for six hours until the fire blew away.  (AP)

The couple kept warm by holding one another and telling each other how much they loved each other.

The couple had tried to evacuate just after their daughter, Zoe Giraudo, told them her father-in-law’s residence about 40 miles away burned down. She urged them to leave the house. The couple tried to drive but the fire blocked them from leaving.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE BURNS HOME OF ‘PEANUTS’ CREATOR CHARLES SCHULZ

The Pascoe’s house and cars burned down. Their cat is missing. But they say they are lucky to be alive.

Giraudo and her sister Mia, 32, told the Los Angeles Times that she was worried her parents were dead after not hearing from them. When they got word that their parents were alive, they broke out into tears.

“I started screaming,” Zoe said. “The first thing mom said to me was ‘I feel so bad I wasn’t able to get ahold of you.’ ‘You’re apologizing to me? After all you’ve been through?’”

The wildfires, which broke out Sunday in Sonoma County, have killed at least 31 people.

Courtesy: Fox News

Wineries coping with California wildfires as death toll reaches 31

Wineries coping with California wildfires as death toll reaches 31
Officials have warned throughout the week that conditions in Northern California would worsen due to wildfires, with the death toll reaching 31 so far. Meanwhile, the state’s famous wine country in Sonoma and the Napa Valley is being seriously threatened.

On Thursday, 22 fires continued to rampage across California’s northern region, KCRA reported.

Over 8,000 firefighters are now fighting the flames, and the wildfires have destroyed more than 3,500 building and homes, totaling over 170,000 acres. They have also displaced some 25,000 people.

Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said recovery teams with cadaver dogs had been searching what’s left of some people’s homes in the county.

“We have found bodies that were completely intact, and we have found bodies that were no more than ash and bone,” he said, BBC News reported.

“We are not even close to being out of this emergency,” Mark Ghilarducci, the state director of emergency services said to reporters, according to BBC News.

On top of the loss of life, and destruction to property, the fires in Napa and Sonoma County could also prove devastating to the state’s wineries and grape crops.

The wine industry got lucky with warm weather in Napa and Sonoma in the late summer and early fall, due to the heat contributing to the ripening process. This, in turn, brought along an earlier-than-usual harvest. But this year, only 10 to 30 percent of the grape crop currently remains on the vine, which is less than usual for the early days of October, the Orange County Register reported.

Even if the grapes make it through the flames unscathed, some of those grapes will be useless for the production of wine due to, what is called ‘smoke taint’. This term is used to describe the the process in which smoke severely damages the flavor of the crop, and would be noticeable when tasting the wine.

“In really bad cases, it can really have the taste of an ashtray,” Anita oberholster, a professor of viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis said, according to CNBC.

The fires are said to be so severe that not a single part of wine country will be unaffected. Vineyards miles away from the flames could succumb to the smoke.

“The smoke taint thing will be global — both valleys,” Alex Andrawes, a wine broker in Texas, and owner of PersonalWine.com, said, Fortune reported. “No pockets spared, I fear.”

Wine writer, marketer and winery co-owner Julie Ann Kodmur commented on the wildfires from her home in Napa County.

READ MORE: Satellite images show devastating extent of California wildfires (PHOTOS)

“We are living through an unbelievable thing right now, from the air heavy [and] thick with ashes to the point you almost can’t see a block ahead of you, to all of the devastation,” she said, according to the Register.

Kodmur commented that her town in Napa has not been hit by the fires, but she worries very much about the wineries nearby.

“[My] concern is for Smith-Madrone,” she said, speaking about her family’s winery. “There are two fires in different places which could conceivably head that way. Stu and Charlie [Smith, brothers and the winery’s co-founders] are doing everything they can do to prepare.”

The wine institute estimates that California is the world’s fourth-largest producer of wine. And in 2015, the wine industry employed around 325,000 people statewide, while taking in more than $57 billion in economic activity. This includes $7.2 billion in income related to tourism, according to the Register.

Courtesy: RT

Catastrophic wildfires rage in California as death toll rises

Fast-moving fires engulfing Northern California have left behind a trail of destruction. Authorities have issued a state of emergency as flames consume houses, businesses and infrastructure throughout the state.

USA Kalifornien Santa Rosa Zerstörung durch Großbrand (Reuters/S. Lam)

California firefighters are facing a worsening situation as winds are expected to pick up to around 50 mph (80 km/h), spreading what has been called one of the worst fires in the state’s history. The number of fires increased from 17 to 22 Wednesday and the number of confirmed dead has increased to 21. Some 170,000 acres (690 square kilometers) have been consumed by the fire, as well as more than 3,500 homes. Firefighters described the situation as “very active on several fronts.”

Watch video01:46

Wildfires tear through California

Unknown number of missing

The largest fires are burning in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties in the heart of California’s wine region. On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in the area. Large-scale evacuations are currently under way and the number of missing is unknown.

In Sonoma county alone, 670 people are unaccounted for. As of Tuesday, some 20,000 residents had been evacuated from their homes. Authorities have set up a registry for missing persons and encouraged residents to sign in once they were safe. Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said that many missing residents had been found, though they had not logged onto the registry site.

Karte USA Kalifornien Sonoma Napa Yuba ENG

‘Catastrophic’

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Ken Pimlott called the Northern California wildfires, “a serious, critical and catastrophic event.” Tens of thousands of residents have also been left without power as a result of fires destroying infrastructure. Smoke and ash from the fires has been so intense in neighboring San Francisco that residents there have been told to stay indoors and to wear breathing masks if possible. No rain is forecast for the area for the next week.

As firefighters attempt to contain the Northern California blazes, their colleagues in Southern California announced that more than 1,600 firefighters in Orange County had contained roughly 40 percent of the brushfires burning there. Authorities say they hope to have those fires completely contained by Saturday.

Plea for federal assistance

California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris yesterday called on US President Donald Trump and Congress to provide federal assistance to their ravaged state, saying damage exceeded that which it could bear alone. On Monday, Vice-President Mike Pence, who was fundraising for Republican congressional candidates in California, left his prepared remarks to say that “the federal government stands ready to provide any and all assistance to the state of California as your courageous firefighters and first responders confront this widening challenge.”

js/bk (AP, Reuters)

 

 

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Devastation of California’s raging wildfires laid bare in drone footage (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Devastation of California’s raging wildfires laid bare in drone footage (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Drone footage and satellite photos reveal the destructive path of one of the worst firestorms in California’s history, as wildfires continue to rage across northern parts of the state.

Seventeen people have been confirmed dead with officials warning that this figure could rise.

More than 15,000 acres of land, including vineyards, in more than eight Northern California counties were engulfed by the flames of several combining fires, Tuesday. Meanwhile it’s estimated at least 1,500 structures have been destroyed.

READ MORE: 17 dead as wildfires rage in Northern California

Drone footage from above Santa Rosa, a city in Sonoma County, reveals an apocalypse-like neighborhood.

Scorched land and wrecks of buildings can be seen as the drone sweeps through the inferno-ravaged residential area.

The destruction on one side is contrasted with apparently intact houses across the road.

A series of satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveal the active hot spots where the fires are rising in temperature.

Data from the VIIRS instrument aboard NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP created this image of the  burning in yesterday Oct. 9th.

The wildfires are continuing to rage as firefighters struggle to tackle the out-of-control blazes.

More than 20,000 people were ordered to evacuate as of Tuesday night. California Highway Patrol said that it’s likely this will be “one of the worst disasters in California history.”

“You gotta be patient. We are just trying to keep people alive.” Captain Mike Palacio said.

Courtesy: RT
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