A catastrophic wildfire has ravaged the country north of San Francisco. 67,000 acres have been destroyed, taking with them 585 homes and the livelihoods of thousands of people. At least 23,000 people have been forced to flee their homes for safety, and even though more than 1,700 firefighters are working to control the blaze, only 15% was under control this morning.
The fire has spread to more than twice the land area of San Francisco and has left utter devastation in its wake. The mandatory evacuations and road closures have been lifted in Amador County for the Butte fire, but closures and evacuations remain in place for Calaveras County where the majority of the fire still burns. Some people only had minutes to leave their homes, grabbing what they could.
The Alves family had time only to grab birth certificates, a computer, and two pictures off the walls of their home before they were forced to flee their home in Middleton.
If the Valley Fire destroys a thousand structures, it will rank among the top 5 most devastating wild fires in California’s state history.
Last week, weather in California reached a new heat surge and temperatures skyrocketed, making it easy for fires to begin and spread. Winds have not helped the problem and have allowed the fires to spread, making them more and more difficult to control. Wednesday may see rain, but breezy conditions are expected to continue.
People are using Twitter as a source to connect with and check in on loved ones. The state of California is able to quickly disseminate information about the fires, road closures, and evacuations that are easy to share and respond to.
Thus far, at least four firefighters have been injured, and only one person has died.