Relentless California Wildfires Show No Signs of Stopping
The Getty Fire, near the renowned J. Paul Getty Museum, joins many other fires ripping through the state.
Plagued by historically harsh winds, California has been hit with an onslaught of wildfires—the newest of which has broken out near the famed Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It joins several other fires burning across the state, including the Oak Fire in Calabasas, the Tick Fire in Southern California and the massive Kincade Fire in Northern California.
Last night, the Kincade Fire was still burning out of control in its fifth day, dropping from 10% containment to 5% due to hurricane-force winds and dry conditions that have allowed it to spread and made it difficult to control. There have been 200,000 evacuations in Sonoma County because of the fire, and it is expected to burn for another week and a half with no rain in the forecast.
The Getty Fire began early Monday, prompting police to ask thousands of people to evacuate, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, LeBron James, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s parents. About 25,000 live in the LA evacuation zone, which covers a swath of high-priced real estate. A fire in December 2017 lit up the same area and forced drivers into a horrifying, apocalyptic-looking morning commute.
Governor Gavin Newsom secured Fire Management Assistance Grants to help fight the flames and announced a $75 million program to alleviate the fires’ impact on citizens. In an emergency declaration made Sunday, he urgent people not to ignore warnings, saying, , “It is critical that people in evacuation zones heed the warnings from officials and first responders, and have the local and state resources they need as we fight these fires.”
At least 3,400 first responders and personnel are fighting the wildfires.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) the state’s biggest utility provider, shut off power to more than a million residents to try to curb further fire risks, but has received criticism for the lack of notice given. In a statement released Sunday, PG&E said more shut offs may come later in the week. In May, Cal Fire found PG&E was responsible for the Camp Fire, which left 85 dead and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes in 2018. It was the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history. PG&E had admitted it’s equipment was “likely” culpable.
The people hit hardest by California’s fires are those who are already vulnerable: homeless populations, the elderly, low-income populations without access to emergency preparations. The LA Times reported that a housekeeper and gardener showed up in the midst of ash and fire to their clients’ homes for work without realizing the homeowners had already evacuated.
See what some Californians are dealing with firsthand on our Snapchat story below.