• Sun. Jan 29th, 2023

More than 6,000 evacuated in California wildfires – but this is only the beginning


Jul 26, 2022

Long before you see the devastation, you can smell it: the ash blowing through the air, the trees still smoking and smouldering.

More than 6,000 residents have been evacuated out of the danger zone, while 3,000 firefighters have been deployed.

They are battling to contain the Oak Fire, yet so far only 16% of it is under control.

Some areas are still smoking and smouldering
Some areas are still smoking and smouldering

Then you approach stark scenes like the one we came across a few miles from the town of Mariposa.

The fire recently ripped through here leaving a charred car park of sports cars, pick-up trucks, quad bikes and tractors.

These burnt-out metal skeletons were all that remained, with trickles of once-molten metal providing evidence of the intensity of the heat.

This level of destruction is, however, not unusual. In California, wildfires and states of emergency are an annual occurrence.

Every year, though, the blazes are intensifying.

Seventeen thousand acres of land have been destroyed so far – an area more than half the size of Paris.

Outside an evacuation centre we met Ruth Clark, 94, who packed up and left her home within 10 minutes and has been living in her car for four days.

“It was getting mad with planes overhead roaring around like a warzone”, she explained. “So I said to my partner: let’s get the two cats and get the heck out of here.

“I had no time to be sorry or be fearful. All I knew is I had to move fast.”

Read more:
Why is it so hard to get people to care about climate change? A neuroscientist and a psychologist shed light

Ruth Clark packed up and left her home in 10 minutes
Ruth Clark packed up and left her home in 10 minutes

Darryl Coleman struggled to get out quite as swiftly because he refused to leave his 21 dogs behind.

We met in the searing summer heat next to his truck, piled high with animal crates.

Darryl Coleman feels 'overwhelmed'
Darryl Coleman feels ‘overwhelmed’

I asked how he was feeling. “Overwhelmed,” he replied. “It was a lot of stress converting my vehicle to carry all my dogs.”

A long drought, parched vegetation and the changing climate have proved a potent combination.

And this is only the beginning: the wildfire season could wreak havoc here for months.

Source : Sky.com

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