The wildfires that literally took California's breath away
California still suffering the effects of one of the largest wildfires ever recorded.
Fire season usually peaks in October in the California area, so when thick plumes of smoke, lashing tongues of flames the height of buildings struck Los Angeles, no one had any reason to offer but attributing the destruction to climate change.
The wildfire's wrath and speed seemed to be competing with the pace of one of the fastest-moving cities in the nation. As the fire raged out of control across Southern California – a new blaze erupted in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles near the UCLA campus and the usually-thronged Getty Museum.
Officials asked students at the University of California at Los Angeles to wear masks to protect themselves from the smoke curtaining the campus. An electric failure in the area left the campus without power. Almost all schools in the whole Californian area were closed to prevent students inhaling the potentially toxic smoke.
Scalding everything on its way, the fire burned up to the edges of the 405 freeway, the nation's busiest highway carrying an average of 400,000 vehicles every day. The catastrophe also forced the closing of the 101 freeway, the main coastal route running north from Los Angeles requiring the attention of more than 1,700 firefighters fighting to drown the flames.
Another devastating fire from September, '17 in LA
The largest of all fires broke out 40 miles to the northwest, consuming 90,000 acres, 150 structures and threatening 12,000 others in the city of Ventura and it's neighboring communities, all by Wednesday night.
Other major fires were catching up in the northern San Fernando Valley and the more northern rugged region of LA. The villas sprawling on the hills of Bel-Air were destroyed, costing tens of millions of dollars to celebrities and other homeowners residing in the area. In total the fires destroyed more than 300 homes, businesses, and other buildings.
The fire's destructive nature caused the season to qualify as one of the state's worst fire seasons ever recorded – forcing 200,000 people in its path to evacuate. The extremely high winter winds in the area made matters worse between Wednesday night and Thursday.
"Winds could still reach 80 miles per hour," said Chief Ken Pimlott of Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency. “These will be winds where there will be no ability to fight fires,” he said.
“These are days that break your heart,” Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said at a news conference. “These are also days that show the resilience of our city.”
The orange-ish grey smoke shrouded the region hanging over the heads of millions of people – posing an air health hazard for the citizens of the area.
In an area that usually boasts of good weather, the citizens were forced to cram up inside their houses to prevent ill-health caused by foul air.
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