(Worthy News) - As firefighters began to make significant progress on two of the 12 deadly wildfires raging in drought-stricken areas of California, emergency crews on Tuesday had to also contend with a small earthquake near one of the wildfires and flooding in Los Angeles.
At least four firefighters have been injured trying to extinguish the wildfires and one woman has died in her home. The wildfires are being attacked by an estimated 11,000 firefighters.
More than 6,000 structures remain threatened with evacuations by a fire in the Gold Rush country of the Sierra Nevada foothills. That blaze, now more than one-third contained, has singed nearly 112 miles so far.
The other fire, sparked by lightning on July 31, is 40 percent contained. Though it’s burned 217 square miles, the path of that fire has at least begun to move away from the ancient Sierra Nevada Giant Sequoia trees. Some of the Sequoias are 3,000 years old. [ Source ]
Farmers impacted by wildfires eligible for federal assistance
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is ready to help farmers and ranchers in areas affected by the recent wildfires with their recovery. The Farm Service Agency will assist those who lost livestock, grazing land, fences or eligible trees, bushes and vines as a result of a natural disaster, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the agency.
Funding and technical assistance to help rehabilitate farmland and carry out emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought is also available, the agency said.
In addition to California, wildfires have ravaged parts of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington in recent months. According to the agriculture department, fire seasons are 78 days longer today than they were in the 1970s. This year, there have been more than 46,000 fires and since 2000, at least 10 states have had their largest fires on record, the agency said. [ Source ]
Computer Models Failing to Accurately Predict Path of Flames
"These fires are actually exceeding what our models will even predict," said Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
While rapidly spreading wildfires exacerbated by four years of drought may have made wildfires harder to forecast, others suggest modeling methods haven't kept up to speed with technology.
Modeling has been a primary tool for nearly 40 years for fire managers to plot where a fire will run and help plan where they should deploy firefighters, dig containment lines, fly water- and retardant-dropping aircraft and order evacuations. But it's not an exact science, and it is often only as good as the expert doing the analysis and a little trial and error. [ Source ]