Wildfires Continue to Blaze Throughout California37.7N 122.4W
Over the weekend, gusty winds hampered efforts to put out several wildfires raging across California, authorities said on Saturday. Various fires can be seen in the main image, the most notable of which are found south of San Francisco and northwest of Los Angeles. A long plume of smoke can also be seen further north, in the state of Oregon.
Firefighters were working against time to contain the fires, including a wind-driven blaze in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Central California that was threatening several towns and forced thousands to evacuate, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDFFP) said.
The greatest danger is posed by the blaze burning north of Santa Cruz, which has destroyed two structures and consumed more than 2,800 acres (about 1,134 hectares), said the department.
Driven by heavy winds, the blaze is threatening the towns of Swanton, Davenport and Bonny Doon, and hand crews have experienced trouble reaching the fire lines. As a result, the fire is mostly being fought by air, the department said.
A second large fire roaring through Los Padres National Forest about 41 kilometers east of Santa Maria has grown, forcing some residents to flee. About 1,600 firefighters are attacking the blaze, which started last Saturday. The cause is unknown.
In the Santa Barbara County, Northern California, a fire has grown to 67,092 acres (about 27,172 hectares) and is 10-percent contained. The area’s rugged terrain and limited access were making it difficult for the hundreds of firefighters on the scene to battle the blaze, firefighters said.
Elswhere in Northern California, several smaller fires were still raging, but a fire in Trinity County was expected to be contained Saturday.
Most of the fires were started by lightning, according to initial investigations. But police were also investigating the possibility of arson. There have been no reports of injuries related to the fires.