Southern California is no stranger to wildfires, but even by historical standards, the events of early December 2017 stand out. The dreaded Santa Ana winds, which transport warm, dry air from inland toward the coast, have been unceasing. The air is dry enough to ignite any vegetation exposed to a spark, be it a downed power line, carelessly-discarded cigarette, or an arsonist's can of gasoline.
Through December 7, wildfires had burned more than 100,000 acres in the greater Los Angeles area alone, with more than 200,000 people evacuated from erratic flames fanned by 50 to 80-mile-per-hour winds. The Thomas Fire, in Ventura, about 60 miles northwest of downtown L.A., has proven to be the biggest blaze so far, burning at least 96,000 acres. Read more...More about Climate, Science, Los Angeles, Extreme Weather, and San Diego