The smoke and high temperatures have been oppressive this week, and today was the first relief. Visibility increased to about 3-miles and temperatures stayed in the 90s rather than near 110. Over 1000 square miles have burned, the size of Rhode Island. In a normal year, this is barely fire season. The notorious fires occur in September in Southern California with the Santa Ana winds. The consensus at this point is that the fires started by lightning on June 21 could burn until October or November. They may be contained, but not extinguished.
On the bright side, Highway 1 through Big Sur is supposed to re-open on Monday.
Official Fire statistics are here: http://www.fire.ca.gov/index_incidents.php
Friday, July 11, 2008 9:00 p.m.
Current Situation: Over fourteen hundred fires have been contained due to the endless efforts of firefighters from California, as well as from throughout the nation. Additional firefighting resources (personnel and equipment) are expected to arrive shortly from Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand. A Red Flag Warning remains in effect through Sunday at 11:00 a.m. for gusty northeast winds and poor overnight humidity recovery in western Siskiyou County. The priority of firefighting is for the protection of life, property and natural resources.
Peak Fires: 1,781
Personnel Committed: 20,274
Water Tenders: 423
Items of Interest:
Highway closures: State highways, county and local roads are closed throughout California due to wildfire activities. Closures and delays remain in place for State Highways 1 (Big Sur Area), 32, 70 and 299. Travelers are advised to seek current information from local law enforcement.
Evacuations: Areas of Butte, Monterey, Shasta and Trinity counties are under evacuation orders at this time. Precautionary evacuation orders currently exist in areas in Butte, Kern, Mendocino, Monterey, Plumas, Santa Barbara, Shasta and Trinity counties. Residents are advised to monitor their local fire situation, check with local law enforcement agencies for information, and be prepared to evacuate when necessary.
Threatened: 12,924 residences, 135 commercial, 2,460 outbuildings.
Destroyed: 100 residences, 1 commercial, 126 outbuildings.