At least 1,600 homes have been evacuated in response to growing wildfires in southwestern Colorado, near Durango. The fires began in San Juan National Forest on June 1 and since then have burned 14 square miles. So far, no houses have been destroyed and there are no casualty reports.
A deep trough across the western U.S. is bringing strong winds and cool temperatures across the region. This has produced critical fire weather threats in the southwest, snow above 5500 feet adjacent to severe storm warnings in the northern Rockies/Plains, and Freeze Warnings. pic.twitter.com/jD9sxTblc3
— NWS (@NWS) June 9, 2018
Nearly 700 firefighters have been dispatched to fight the flames, which are exacerbated by drought conditions and strong winds throughout the Four Corners region where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado intersect. As of Saturday, the fires were 10 percent contained. Bonnie Kristian
The Ute Park Fire has forced some residents of the small town of Cimarron, New Mexico, north of Santa Fe, to evacuate their homes on Saturday, local officials reported. The fire doubled in size Friday to span 16,000 acres, exacerbated by unseasonably dry weather and strong winds.
— Allison Martinez (@KRQEAllison) June 1, 2018
The fire has destroyed 14 outbuildings at a Boy Scouts camp, but so far it has not destroyed any homes or caused any casualties. The source of the blaze is unknown; there is a campfire ban in place in the area because of drought conditions. Bonnie Kristian
Southern California's Thomas Fire became the state's largest wildfire in recorded history Friday night, state officials said. The blaze has now burned 273,400 acres, which is about 427 square miles, and has destroyed more than 1,000 structures. One firefighter was killed fighting the fire, which is now 65 percent contained.
— USFS Fire-California (@R5_Fire_News) December 23, 2017
Nearly 3,000 firefighters are still battling the Thomas Fire around the clock and are expected to continue to do so until at least early January, depending on weather conditions. Firefighters' worst case scenario would see the Thomas Fire going through downtown Santa Barbara. Bonnie Kristian
California's Thomas Fire grew to be the second-largest wildfire in the state's recorded history by Sunday morning. The blaze has burned more than 267,000 acres and is expected to grow larger than the all-time biggest California fire as soon as Sunday night thanks to continued high winds in Southern California. The fire now poses a serious threat to hundreds of homes in Montecito, a coastal town on the outskirts of Santa Barbara.
"When the [sundowner winds] surface in that area and the fire starts running down slopes, you are not going to stop it," said Mark Brown, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "And we are not going to stand in front of it and put firefighters in untenable situations."
See the fire's projected growth via the Los Angeles Times below. Bonnie Kristian
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) December 12, 2017
Southern California is expecting very strong winds and low humidity for a 24-hour period beginning Saturday and ending Sunday. The weather conditions will pose a new challenge to the thousands of firefighters battling wildfires in the region, especially those dealing with the Thomas Fire, which is now the third-largest wildfire in California's recorded history.
— CIIMT1 (@Info_CIIMT1) December 16, 2017
The Thomas Fire that started in Southern California's Ventura County last Monday has burned over 200,000 acres, growing in size by more than 25,000 acres on Sunday and forcing more people to evacuate in Santa Barbara County.
The out-of-control fire crossed county lines on Saturday night, fueled by dry winds and air, and is only 15 percent contained. Officials say 88,000 people have had to flee their homes because of the fire, and estimate it has cost $25 million to fight it so far. There are 8,500 firefighters currently battling six fires burning across Southern California.
In Santa Barbara County, about 85,000 customers are without power, and several schools have already canceled classes on Monday. The Santa Barbara Zoo is outside of the evacuation area, but smoke is in the air and ash is falling on the property, forcing the zoo to put the animals in their night quarters. To keep them entertained, staffers are playing with the animals and giving them plenty of treats and toys. "The gorillas like music," director of marketing Dean Noble told the Los Angeles Times. Catherine Garcia
"This is kind of the new normal," California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said Saturday of the massive wildfires in Southern California that have claimed at least one life and burned tens of thousands of acres. "With climate change, some scientists are saying that Southern California is literally burning up," Brown continued. "So we have to have the resources to combat the fires and we also have to invest in managing the vegetation and forests ... in a place that's getting hotter."
Fires in the northern part of the state this fall killed more than 40 people and burned more than 8,000 structures. Dry, windy conditions have made the blazes now burning near Los Angeles difficult to contain. Bonnie Kristian
The six wildfires sweeping through Southern California have claimed their first victim, authorities announced Friday. An unidentified 70-year-old woman was killed in a car crash Wednesday as she attempted to evacuate ahead of the flames.
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) December 8, 2017
The fires are expected to grow this weekend thanks to seasonal Santa Ana winds, with gusts that could exceed 50 mph in the mountains near San Diego. About 160,000 acres have already been burned by the six fires combined. More than 200,000 people have evacuated their homes, and some 8,700 firefighters are battling the blazes. Bonnie Kristian