Thousands of residents in Northern California were forced to evacuate their homes this week as US Fire officials continue to fight around 96 large and active fires raging through 2 million acres of forest land.
The River Fire is what officials are calling the fire that has now raged in Nevada and Placer counties in California. An estimated 40 building structures have been damaged or completely destroyed since Wednesday, when the fires initially began. CalFire Deputy Chief Jim Hudson claimed that the fire has already torn through 1,400 acres of land and was uncontainable Wednesday evening.
Nearly 2,400 residents are under evacuation in Placer County alone, and in Nevada County 4,200 residents have now been placed under an evacuation order, according to Sheriff Shannan Moon.
California’s largest active wildfire — the Dixie Fire — has already torn through Greenville, a town in Plumas County, also in the state’s northern region. “The Dixie Fire pushed into Greenville Wednesday and early indications are there has been significant damage,” California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services spokesman Brian Ferguson said.
“Right now, there are still a lot of people unfortunately in Greenville that did not evacuate. And so, we are having to deal with that … and get all those folks out,” said Jake Cagle, the operations sections chief for California’s Incident Management Team.
Currently there are 11 large active fires throughout California and over 420,000 acres of land have been destroyed. Wildfires throughout the US have been fueled by extreme drought, global warming, and low humidity.
The US Forest Service recently announced it will no longer be using the “let it burn” strategy when it comes to wildfires. Even Governor Gavin Newsom recently spoke out against this strategy in a call to President Joe Biden where he claimed the Forest Service has “a culture that too often is wait and see.”
“We need your help to change the culture in terms of the suppression strategies in this climate literally and figuratively to be more aggressive on these federal fires,” Newsom told Biden.
“The 2021 fire year is different from any before. In short, we are in a national crisis. At times like these, we must anchor to our core values, particularly safety,” said US Forest Service Fire Chief Randy Moore.
“We are in a ‘triage mode’ where our primary focus must be on fires that threaten communities and infrastructure. There is a finite amount of firefighting resources available that must be prioritized and fires will not always get the resources that might be requested,” Moore wrote.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.