California Authorities Say Wildfires Are Only Getting Worse
Three days after catastrophic wildfires first began scorching Northern California’s wine country, authorities say the conditions are likely to deteriorate still further.
“It’s actually getting worse,” Sonoma Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Spencer Crum said on Wednesday afternoon. “The winds have picked up today, and we have more evacuations.”
Since late Sunday evening, wildfires in Sonoma, Napa and neighboring counties have spread rapidly, killing at least 23 people, injuring more than 100 and leaving hundreds missing, according to the Sonoma Sheriff’s Office. Thousands have been forced to flee their homes after mandatory evacuations.
Worsening wind conditions on Wednesday caused flames to spread further, leading authorities to issue more evacuation orders and warn that some of the smaller fires might merge into one large fire.
For some of the firefighters who have braved the conflagration, the devastation has hit close to home…
Hurricane Harvey is a billion-dollar disaster – America’s 10th in 2017
Even before Hurricane Harvey began to form, out in the north Atlantic, federal climate experts signalled that 2017 was going to be a bad year for weather and climate catastrophes in America. According to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), there had already been nine climate and weather-related events that caused more than $1bn of damage.
This “rapid succession of disaster events” from 1 January to 7 July 2017 was part of a years-long increaseand cost a total of $16bn and 57 lives. Such events included flooding in California, Missouri and Arkansas; hailstorms in Colorado and Minnesota; and a sudden, crop-killing spring freeze across South Carolina and Georgia that destroyed an abnormally early fruit blossom.
It is possible that on top of this, economic damage from Harvey will exceed the inflation-adjusted $160bn cost of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Noaa experts told the Guardian.
But despite Noaa’s work to track what is happening to climate, weather and the oceans, and how society is affected and might react, Donald Trump proposed earlier this year slashing the administration’s budget…