California is so hot and dry that not even soaking rain can ease fall fire peril, experts say
A view of the fire damage to a house in the mountains of southern California, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. The Rim fire has been fanned by winds from the west, and has grown to 200,000 acres of mostly residential areas in Malibu and Santa Barbara counties. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
The wildfire burning in the mountains of southern California grew to 200,000 acres, after firefighters were forced to evacuate homes.
The Rim fire, fueled by wind, has burned 20,000 acres and forced residents to flee to the hillsides, but it is only one of many blazes threatening more than 6 million people and tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the state.
Experts say the fire season isn’t long enough to allow firefighting personnel to take care of all the areas threatened by the fires.
“You want fires to burn fast, to burn hotter,” said Jeff Masters, the U.S. emergency management adviser. “But we don’t live in the Wild West. We live in a very civilized society. If we start to lose control of our forest, we have to slow it down, and we have to do it.”
Masters said the average fire season is four years. He said this isn’t a problem, since most fires die down without the help of firefighters.
“Unfortunately, that’s the reality,” he said. “It’s a lot harder to control fires if they get big as a result of a drought. But it doesn’t always happen.”
In California, the hot and dry conditions that started in 2017 have helped spread many of the wildfires.
The U.S. Forest Service has said several areas of the state have received a little rain the past few days, and that the fire conditions are improving in the areas where they have emerged.
“We are cautiously optimistic that what started earlier this week has moved west