Modal close

Hi there!

Did you know that you can get our headlines, stories and web exclusives delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our Daily News Digest today! Don't worry, we'll never share or sell your information.

California: Death Toll from Wildfires Hits 23, as Fires Continue to Spread

HeadlineOct 12, 2017
 h1 california fire

In California, the death toll from the wildfires burning statewide has risen to 23 people, with hundreds more still missing. The nearly two dozen fires have consumed more than 170,000 acres, destroyed thousands of structures and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

More than 8,000 firefighters are currently battling the blazes, working up to 80 hours straight. Among them are prisoners, who are working for as little as a $1 a day. The firefighters have more than 500 fire engines, 73 helicopters and 30 airplanes—yet the uncontrollable fires are still spreading. Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said, “These fires are literally just burning faster than firefighters can run.” This is Chief Pimlott.

Fire Chief Ken Pimlott: “We are still impacted by five years of drought. With the significant rain that we had last winter, those effects are gone of that moisture, and we are literally looking at explosive vegetation. These fires are burning actively during the day and at night, when one would expect a fire to subside. And make no mistake: This is a serious, critical, catastrophic event.”

Some of the most destructive fires are in Sonoma County, where officials are investigating Pacific Gas and Electric Company power lines as the potential source of the fire. On Sunday night, as the fires began, there were multiple reports of downed power lines and exploding electrical transformers. Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s failure to properly maintain its power lines has sparked fires in the past, including the 2015 Butte fire that killed two people.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation
Up arrowTop