This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge
Images of charred palm trees and the burnt-out husks of multi-million-dollar homes flooded social media for a fifth day Friday as the SoCal wildfires that exploded into life at the beginning of the week showed no signs of slowing.
Instead, some of the largest fires have entered the heart of Los Angeles – America’s second largest city – and are menacing some of the most expensive homes in the country.
To date, six large wildfires have scorched 141,000 acres in the state, with the flames spreading as far south as San Diego, Cal Fire officials said. At least 5,700 firefighters from several agencies and at least nine states are working to contain the massive walls of flames. The fires have forced 190,000 people out of their homes in a hurry. Many took only their pets and a few choice mementos.
The Skirball fire that’s terrorizing Bel Air isn’t nearly as large as some of the other fires raging in Ventura and LA counties, but it has had an outsize impact in terms of cost. Two days ago, local media reported that the fire had torched a mansion owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Though Murdoch later clarified that the property was (mostly) intact, other homes in the area are at risk of being reduced to cinders.
So far, the fire has damaged many homes in the hills of Bel Air, Los Angeles’ most expensive neighborhood according to Zillow. At least six of those, which Zillow estimates to be worth around $20 million, were completely destroyed on Wednesday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, about 1,700 homes were in mandatory evacuation zones from the Skirball Fire. The company estimates the homes’ values totaled $6.4 billion, where the median home value is just under $3 million.
Beyond Bel Air, there are 86,242 homes in Ventura and Los Angeles counties that are at “some level of risk” from the Thomas, Rye and Creek Wildfires, according to CoreLogic. The combined reconstruction cost value of these properties is $27.7 billion – nearly triple the $10 billion in damages caused by the NorCal fires.
In Ventura County alone, 14,300 homes valued at a total of $10.4 billion were in mandatory evacuation zones, according to Zillow.
Just like with the fires that devastated California’s wine country two months ago, the powerful Santa Ana winds have exacerbated the devastation. After a brief lull on Tuesday, the winds picked back up again Wednesday. And though they’re expected to taper off again – albeit briefly – late Friday, winds of up to 80 mph are expected to continue through Sunday, making it difficult for firefighters to tame the blazes.
“We are in the beginning of a protracted wind event,” Ken Pimlott, the director of the California department of forestry and fire protection, told the Los Angeles Times. “There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds.”
All together, the four fires in Southern California – possibly the most destructive in the state’s history – have scorched more than 116,000 acres so far, and despite the round-the-clock work of thousands of firefighters since Tuesday, they are still burning ferociously with little to no containment. For example, the Thomas fire northwest of Ventura is barely 5% contained.
All around the region, people encountered nightmarish conditions as flames seemed to come from everywhere. Patricia Hampton, 48, said she and her boyfriend woke up at her house in Ventura on Tuesday night to the sound of helicopters. Outside, the ground was covered in ash, the air so smoky it was hard to breathe as they hopped on bicycles and tried to flee, according to the Washington Post.
“We didn’t know what had happened. We rode down into town trying to make sense of what we were seeing — police everywhere, firetrucks, helicopters,” she said at a temporary shelter at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. “It was like a war zone. You could hear transformers blowing up.”
Authorities are warning residents in nearby communities to prepare to evacuate, even if they aren’t directly impacted by the fire. Residents should be ready to evacuate even if they don’t live in areas immediately affected by flames, Cal Fire Division Chief Nick Schuler said Thursday night. Families should have an escape plan ready to go just in case, he said.
VIDEO (tap screen for sound): @LACoFireAirOps Firehawk helicopter navigates high winds to drop water and protect structures from the #SkirballFire in Los Angeles, CA assisting @losangelesfiredepartment #multimission #teamwork #Firehawk #helicopter #Firefighter #Paramedic #Pilot #LACoFD #LACountyFire #LosAngeles #firefighting #wildfire #brushfire #CAfire #LAfire #LAwind #LAFD #Brentwood #BelAir #SepulvedaPass #405 #405freeway
“They need to prepare as if they will be impacted. Where are they gonna go? What are their escape routes? What is their communication to their families?” he said.
Adding to the devastation in the region, the Lilac Fire in San Diego County started Thursday and grew to 4,100 acres in a few hours, leading to new evacuation orders. Evacuation centers have been set up in affected areas.
The Lilac Fire has left three people with burn injuries and two firefighters hurt. One firefighter suffered smoke inhalation while the second one had a dislocated shoulder. The latter popped it back into place and continued working, Schuler said. According to CNN, school boards have shut down schools spanning at least 16 districts.
Gov. Jerry Brown issued an emergency proclamation for Santa Barbara and San Diego counties. The declarations free state resources such as the National Guard to support response efforts. He’s also requested federal assistance to supplement state and local emergency response.
Per CNN, here’s a quick summary of the six largest fires.
- Thomas Fire: The largest of the six blazes started Monday in Ventura County, and has scorched 115,000 acres. It’s only 5% contained, and has destroyed at least 150 homes and threatening thousands more in Ventura, about 50 miles (80 km) north-west of Los Angeles.
- Creek Fire: The second-largest fire is in neighboring Los Angeles County, and ignited a day later. It has burned 15,323 acres and is 20% contained.
- Rye Fire: It broke out Tuesday in Los Angeles County and has burned 7,000 acres. Firefighters are making progress, with 25% of the blaze contained.
- Lilac Fire: This fast-moving fire erupted Thursday in San Diego County, and has consumed 4,100 acres in just a few hours. It’s unclear what percentage of it is contained.
- Skirball Fire: It started Wednesday as a brush fire in Los Angeles County, and is now 30% contained.
- Liberty Fire: The blaze in Riverside County has burned 300 acres since it ignited Thursday. It’s 5% contained.
While no deaths have been reported so far as a direct result of the flames, three residents have been burned while trying to flee. And one woman was found dead after a car crash in an area under an evacuation order, the authorities said on Thursday, according to the GuardianWith 2017 on track to be the most destructive year for wildfires in California history, experts are warning that this could be the new status quo, given dry conditions across the state.
The Santa Ana winds are an entirely natural phenomenon of course, and they usually peak during the month of December. What is unusual is that wildfires peak during the autumn period. But because of the ongoing drought across California and the very dry weather during October and November, the conditions have been ripe for the wildfire outbreak we are now witnessing.
The current weather pattern is consistent with what climatologists refer to as the ‘Ridiculously Resilient Ridge’ which has become more prevalent in recent years. This results in cold weather across eastern parts of US, and unseasonably warm weather in western areas that we are seeing this month.
As this weather pattern intensifies, expect deadly blazes to become a perennial concern, Al Jazeera reported.
Last heard camp Pendleton marine base near Ocean side was evac. today. Fires near San Diego. Are these fires being set by terrorists or is it climate change full swing. The harbinger of judgments are here on this country (Isa 8:1-22, 9:10, ch 13-23, etc.) the anvil has dropped since 9/11 w/ weather disasters, crime, corrupt gov, econ. and open borders. Get house in order and hope enough patriots will stand up against the take down. UN troops may be called into Cal. to aid, then occupy.
And the lunacy begins ….
Can’t wait for all the choice comments by the haters. The trolls on this site love other people’s suffering. No Christians here, that’s for sure. Sick.
thanks for the kind words
oh, and thanks for being first to bitch
Burn, Baby, Burn ????
Hey it’s a good thing we (in this State) all decided to give the Fedgov the finger, huh?
I hear ya Stormy. I am actually worried about the good people, the kids, the animals…… the lives. If there is a just God, may he preserve them all; especially, those who have not turned their faces from Him.
As far as I’m concerned this couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of America hating, illegal alien hiding, self centered liberals. I hope the whole freaking state burns down.
California is the land of Godless heathens. Judgement.
Menzo: the harbinger of judgments are pouring out in CA now, and elsewhere including this years hurricanes/floods. U.S. barreling down the abyss faster than a NY minute.
You are right. Don’t be a hater. I’m sure all those peeps driving Bentleys and living in multi-million dollar mansions would drop everything to help YOU if you needed it.
Stormy the troll freak, get lost.
“Entirely natural phenomenon of course,” are you SERIOUS?
Check out YT channel intruthbygrace, she has been posting excellent vids about the Sta Rosa fires a while ago, and now about these fires as well. The footage is probably the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen–because it is obvious they are NOT normal fires at all.
If you look at the damage in these neighborhoods, the houses themselves have not simply been burned, they have been obliterated. Steel bars, porcelain fixtures, everything is turned into dust. And yet at the same time, the trees, grass, mailboxes only a few feet from the houses are UNTOUCHED!!!
At the same time, if you look at the locations of these “brush fires,” you’ll see that they all magically started around the same time, but they are many miles apart. The areas in between the fires are not being affected.
As insane as it sounds, this has to be some kind of weapon, being pointed at these houses. This nutty-sounding theory is bolstered by YT vids on some other channel (sorry, don’t remember the name, but if you search you’ll find the vids right away), showing that the houses destroyed in Sta Rosa were in PRECISELY the areas designated by UN Agenda 21 or 30, to be removed. No freaking joke.
I don’t know what’s going on here, folks, but something is definitely going on–and it isn’t a forest or brush fire.
You are cherry picking, just like the libs do all the time.
The author said, “The Santa Ana winds are an entirely natural phenomenon of course”. That is a true statement.
Weiss, Your post is very informative. I will check out the YT vid.
I do wonder if maybe these fires are so unusual and unnatural because of Chemtrails. Maybe they sprayed something from above during one of their typical Chemtrail sprays that landed on the houses, coating them with some toxic chemical that caused them to turn to dust (in the intentionally set fires) while it protected the grassy areas. Whatever the cause it is very suspicious.
Or, if not related to either ISIS or Chemtrails, possibly a Particle Beam Weapon that demolecularizes the structure. That may seem a bit far-fetched but I wouldn’t put anything past these evil psychos.
Strange how it skipped over Rupert Murdoch’s mansion.
A wildfire can be started in dry brush by just driving by and firing a flare pistol picked up at Wal-Mart. So easy even a muslime can do it.
I have seen a few of those vids. I find the trees being burnt from the inside out rather weird. I know of no trees that self immolate.
Live in San Diego, 35 miles away from the base.
About 900 families have been evacuated from
homes and schools on base just as a precautionary
Camp Pendleton is huge – about 125,000 acres. The
Tomahawk Fire consumed about 6000 acres. The Marines
have not evacuated and as a matter of fact the base
has their own large fire department which is helping
out the civilians in the other close fires nearby.
They also lend their fire fighting planes for use
anytime they are needed. With Marines “driving” of
course. They are doing just fine.
Wish folks would get the facts right.
Good thing CA built a subway instead of clearing dry brush or buying fire fighting equipment. These rich “celebrities” should be fined for the carbon emissions created when their house burns. One wants to feel empathy, but it’s hard when somebody’s misfortune is self-induced. In a few months, they’ll be crying about their mansions sliding down the hill they were built into.
Great post. The insurance of those who live modestly will go up to pay for all those McMansions to be rebuilt.
Help Wanted: someone let me know if The Lost Ways” book is worth gettihg. Thanks
With you on that Weis. Betcha terrorists or illegals set them. Oh,BTW: did not ISIS say something about starting fires as a terror weapon? Just saying……
Many of us who live in the Napa-Sonoma area, with the wildfires in October, saw blue lights flashing in the sky the night the fires began. At first, most of us thought it was heat lightning in the sky when the wild fires started. There is video footage of a news person in a helicopter who, when capturing the same blue flash, pulls the camera abruptly away.
Many now think the blue lights were lasers.
Wonder if anyone down in SoCA saw any blue flashes before the fires began in earnest, or later when new fires started? Curious.
The wildfires added to the homeless problem. If you escaped without serious injuries to yourself and your family, you can take some comfort in that. The insurance companies are really going to take a hit from all of the disasters.
Yea. And those living modestly can expect an increase in their insurance as the mansions are rebuilt.
Anyone too stupid to not leave Calif deserves what they get. Many of the folks in the flyover places could care less. I also hope the insurance companys go bankrupt.
Earth;s answer to urban renewal.
My multi thousand dollar home is just as important as their million $ home.
I grew up in SoCal. I remember seeing the hills on fire, helicopters above, houses burning and the police on loudspeakers telling us to get ready to evacuate.
Do I still live in that area? NO. It has been more than 45 years but the smell of fire still makes my heart race. I have a huge fear of fire, to this day.
If I lived in SoCal I would have a concrete or earthen home with a tile, metal, or earthen roof. Just like people have to up build in tornado and hurricane prone areas the same is true in California. Building stuff from wood is stupid.
These fires require a lot of oxygen to burn and burn that hot. Even if you lived in an “earth ship” home you might still suffocate.
Santa Rosa was ignited by DEW. The evidence exists to support that thesis. It will be interesting to see what info emerges in SoCal.
Will there be engines blocks in burned out cars with holes in them ??? 🙁
A dozen fires beak out in a small regional area within days of each other?
There’s no such thing as coincidence.
When the fires broke out in Northern California months ago, police had the phone company run a computer query to list all phones that were at, at least two of the GPS coordinates of forest fire ignition points. Turned out just one phone that belonged to a guy named Mohamed was found at the ignition point of 12 fires during the ignition point time line.
I’ve seen a lot of footage of houses that burned or were burning, every house that had a recognizable/ visible part of a roof were……… Asphalt shingle roofs. These people need fire resistant roofs.
Lots of clay tile roofs in CA. Still, too many combustible materials used in construction, not to mention contents.
These fires DO seem to have all sprang up in optimal locations to quickly engulf structures. The fires may well have been deliberately set, but the damage is being exacerbated by structure construction/location and “environmental policies”.
Wonder why the unlightened hicks who settled the American west cleared away large areas of underbrush around structures?
Good thing CA hasn’t seceded from the Union yet.
That makes them still eligible for FEMA and other government aid. Otherwise Mexifornia would be struggling be on their own.
time to have outright ban on matches lighter and other items that can cause fires need permit for those items called cleaning out the trash that lives in CA gorgeous state but look who runs it lives there what a waste
un agenda 21/2030 to get people out of the rural areas to create the uninhabited buffer zones