Residents of Southern California are still coping with the aftermath of this summer’s wildfire. The blaze led to the evacuation of 82,000 residents from 10,000 homes. More than 300 homes and businesses were destroyed in Los Angeles County, and an estimated 57 square miles of brush were consumed.
As fires raged in the south, another one 30 miles north consumed 17 square miles and destroyed 96 homes.
“The fire’s just doing what it wants right now,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy told Fox News. “We have to stick back, let it do what it wants to and attack it where we can.”
A long drought and 100-degree temperatures fueled the wildfires that 1,700 firefighters battled in the midst of 20-mph gusting winds.
“It started consuming houses that were non-defendable,” Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief John Tripp said, adding that the fire whipped through the area “like a freight train,” as reported by USA Today.
The fire claimed the life of a man in Santa Clarita. Rescuers found his body in a compact sedan parked in his driveway.
Low visibility hampered aerial firefighting efforts. Officials had to wait for improved weather patterns before activating 15 water-dropping helicopters.
The American Red Cross opened shelters and provided food and relief supplies to evacuated families. At the same time, the agency was also responding to flooding in West Virginia.
“The lives of thousands of people have been turned upside down by deadly floods and wildfires, and Red Cross volunteers are there to provide comfort and support, while making sure they have a safe place to stay and food to eat,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross.
“Our relief efforts are just beginning, and we will be there in the coming days and weeks supporting people affected by these tragic disasters as they begin to recover and rebuild.”
Pray for the ongoing recovery of families in California as they rebuild following this devastating wildfire.
Fox News: Nearly 10,000 homes evacuated, 18 destroyed as ferocious California wildfire spreads
USA Today: California fires rage, with dead man found
ABC News: California Wildfires Leave a Trail of Destruction
Red Cross: Red Cross Deploys Hundreds of Volunteers to Help People Impacted by California Wildfires, West Virginia Floods