California wildfire burns 31 homes signals ‘dangerous new norms’, official says

A forest fire that broke out from the wind tore the city of Southern CaliforniaOn Thursday, the local fire chief said that burning 31 homes and creating a local emergency signaled the dangerous start of the state fire season.

Orange County Fire Chief Brian Fenes said the fire, known as the Coastal Fire, occurred long before the hot, dry Santa Winds, which usually contribute to the region’s more devastating forest fires.

“This is a fire caused by the winds that are here every day,” he said. “Humidity was 70 percent or higher. This was an ordinary day. However, we quickly burned 200 acres and lost 24 homes. That’s not what we’ve ever seen. “

“It is a dangerous new norm,” he added.

As of Thursday afternoon, about 900 homes had received evacuation orders, with 550 firefighters working to contain the blaze in Laguna Nigel, Orange County, about 50 miles south of Los Angeles, local firefighters said.

Twenty homes were destroyed and 11 were damaged, said Shane Sherwood, Orange County Fire Chief. He said two firefighters were injured and 15 percent of the fire was contained in control lines.

Local officials A state of emergency was declared earlier on Thursdayfreeing up resources և helping residents.

The cause of the fire that broke out in Aliso Woods Gorge on Wednesday afternoon, which Fennesi described as “extremely steep” և dry area, is still under investigation.

A local power company in Edison, Southern California, told regulators it had detected “chain activity that occurred near the time of the fire,” a company spokesman said in an email.

Electricity companies are blamed for the state’s deadliest forest fires. Northern California Pacific Gas and Electric pleaded guilty to 84 counts A case of unintentional murder in Camp Fire 2018. It was not immediately clear if the electrical activity was related to the Orange County fire.

Spokeswoman Reggie Kumar said more details were not immediately available.

Fennes said the fire was part of a trend in other Western California states that seemed is fed by climate change և warmer, drier conditions that it has created.

“We see the fires spreading like we did not [before]”At least during the 44 years I have been a firefighter,” he said.

Experienced local firefighters were able to predict fire behavior in the region in time, Fennes added. But that is no longer the case.

“What we are seeing today exceeds our personal fire behavior predictions,” he said.

Lindsay Pipia contributed.

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