Fires continue to rage on in Southern California

Anjali Reddy, Editor-in-Chief

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On December 4, 2017, all hell broke loose as the first of a series of 22 wildfires broke out in Southern California.

Many of the fires are still active currently, however, they have been primarily contained and the affected area is much safer than it was earlier in the week. The fires spanned from as far west as Ventura County to as far east as San Bernardino, and as far south as San Diego. Essentially, the entire region of Southern California was affected by these raging fires, just a few months after the outbreak of fires in Sonoma County in the northern part of the state.

The largest fire was the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, and it burned approximately 249,500 acres and caused over 94,607 residents to evacuate their homes.

The other fire that got a lot of media attention was the Skirball fire, in the Los Angeles area, which made its way into social media platforms due to a few outrageous viral videos and pictures were taken by civilians. One of these videos was taken on the Highway 405, which later was closed in both directions due to safety hazards.

“My family has been put under a mandatory evacuation. No one can go in and out of our neighborhood and the fire has gotten so bad that police go door to door forcing people who have not yet left to leave,” says Sophia Jahadhmy (‘18), a local Santa Barbara resident.

Aside from forcing people out of their homes, these fires did other kinds of damage as well. From hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damages to schools canceling due to the danger of local fires to degrading the air quality to an almost unbreathable low, these fires were unlike anything a lot of longtime Southern California residents had ever seen.

“The fires are really scary because it’s just so close to us. When you see those pictures in the news, it’s crazy to think that’s literally happening in our backyards,” says Isa Flores (‘22).

The Southern California wildfires were one of the craziest things to happen to SoCal in 2017, and act as another addition to the list of both human and natural disasters, including Hurricane Harvey, the Las Vegas shooting and Hurricane Irma, that shaped the year as a whole.

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