California wildfires could burn until September

World Today

California wildfires could burn until SeptemberFirefighters battle a wildfire as it threatens to jump a street near Oroville, Calif., on Saturday, July 8, 2017. Evening winds drove the fire through several neighborhoods leveling homes in its path. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Heading home, some residents evacuated ahead of California wildfires are being allowed to return. But around 1500 in Northern California are still under a mandatory evacuation order. About 19000 people fled California’s worst-ever wildfire. Officials said it could continue to burn until September. CGTN’S Dan Williams has more.

Destruction and devastation across huge areas of land, completely ravaged by California’s largest wildfire. Barely a third of the blaze is under control, and officials now say, the fire will not be contained until September. 

“It’s been a challenge,” said CalFire Public Information Officer  Will Powers. “We’re about 14,000 personnel statewide fighting fires throughout California. It’s still early. We’re getting that hot weather. Those red flag warnings come up here and there. We’re still in that hot, dry, relative low humidity conditions where it just burns hot and fast.”

Despite the size of the fire, the blaze has been mainly confined to rural wooded areas. For the most part, towns and villages have largely avoided the monster fire. But not all of the residents here have been so lucky. This house, along with these vehicles, has been destroyed. As the evacuation order is lifted, the reality of the destruction becomes clear. 

“It’s scary–it’s nerve-wracking,” said one evacuee. “I’ve been having to stay in the van because of my nerves. I got a feeling my home’s still there, my gut’s telling me it’s still there but it’s all we got. We don’t have anything. We bought the home, paid for it already. We don’t have a Plan B. There’s no insurance, so it’s scary. It’s nerve-wracking.”

There is some help for residents as the Red Cross prepares to distribute supplies to those returning home. 

“We are going to be distributing what we call fire supplies to the people that are able to go back to their homes and want to clean up,” said Red Cross representative Helen Miller. “When they are able to go back and to see what they have left, we’re there to help them for that recovery.” 

Authorities are concerned wind conditions could change once again and bring the fires closer to residential areas. The fires, fueled by record heat and dry conditions, have already caused heartbreak and destruction. And there’s fear more is to come.