California could still be fighting fires at Christmas thanks to 16-day drought and unusually warm weather

10:18 • 11.12.17



Southern California's firefighters could be battling blazes right into Christmas Day, experts have warned, as the wildfire-stricken state faces at least 16 days without rain.


Ten wildfires continue to roar across the state from Ojai down, with the oldest and largest - Monday's Thomas Fire - having now consumed at least 155,000 acres of land, the Daily Mail reports.

 

That means it's officially the first wintertime megafire in California's history - but it likely won't be the last, according to Governor Jerry Brown, who has called December wildfires 'the new
normal'.


“This is the new normal, and this could be something that happens every year or every few years,” he said in a press conference after seeing the devastation Thomas has caused in Ventura County.


“We're about ready to have firefighting at Christmas.”


Brown also said the state needed more resources to be able to fight winter fires.

 

“We're facing a new reality in this state, where fires threatened people's lives, their properties, their neighborhoods and billions and billions of dollars,' he said. 'So we have to have the resources to combat the fires.”


Last winter saw the end of a five-year-long drought for California, but even that extraordinary experience has not prepared residents of its southern half for the powerful wildfires that have been burning for up to six days so far.


Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean told the Daily News that traditional expectations for California fires no longer hold sway.


“Now, there is no fire season,' he said. 'Southern California hasn't really had weather. Nothing changes as far as topography, but the vegetation does change. There's a lot of fuel out there right now.”
 

Some have questioned whether the fires might be linked to climate change, but experts told The Atlantic that the signs aren't clear.

 

A fire engine passes flames as a wildfire burns along Santa Ana Road near Ventura. Governor Jerry Brown has warned that winter wildfires are the 'new normal' and 'could be something that happens every year or every few years'

The Thomas Fire (pictured) was the first of the wildfires in Southern California this month and is still burning. It has now consumed at least 155,000 acres of land and is the first winter megafire in California's history

There has been fire per cent less rain than usual since October, contributing to the fires - and the Santa Ana winds have both stoked fires and spread embers   A military helicopter drops water on the Ventura fires

Firefighters light backfire while trying to keep a wildfire from jumping Santa Ana Road near Ventura on Saturday. The fire is 15 per cent contained after almost a week - and it is just one of six fires that have not yet been contained

Firefighters burn off scrub by the edge of the road to stop the blaze from reaching the road. Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean said that there are no longer any 'fire seasons'

Flames explode near firefighters as the Thomas Fire approaches the Lake Casitas area near Ojai on September. Concerns have been raised about climate warning, but two experts said that might not be the cause of this late fire

The US Forest Service works in Rose Valley as efforts continue against the Thomas Fire in Los Padres. In total, more than 700 structures have been destroyed across all of the fires

This photo of the Thomas fire was taken on Tuesday, and then colorized and released by NASA on Thursday. The brown area has been burned by the Thomas Fire; the green area is undamaged, and the grey areas are built up

Terrified horses - many of which are thoroughbred race horses - gallop from San Luis Rey Downs as the Lilac Fire sweeps through the horse-training facility on Thursday

 

 





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