Current Situation: State and Federal firefighters continue to battle hundreds of wildfires throughout Northern California and are preparing for light to moderate dry thunderstorm activity beginning tonight through the weekend. Fires are activity burning and continuing to spread. New fires are being identified on a regular basis. Priority of firefighting effort is for the protection of life, property and natural resources.1,211 fires! Yesterday's tally for the fires was 1,088.... They were (and are!) predicting more thunderstorms, so I'm guessing that some of the new fires were started by more dry lightning strikes. Here's a link to this morning's fire map that was updated at 8:00AM this morning. (It's a pdf file, so it will take a few moments to load.)
Total Fires: 1,211
Contained Fires: 266
Personnel Committed: 11,322
(These numbers are totals from state, local and federal firefighting agencies. Updated 6/27 at 9:00 a.m.)
- Fire Engines: 458
- Hand Crews: 225
- Dozers: 224
- Water Tenders: 278
- Helicopters: 68
- Air Tankers: 14
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called on President George W. Bush to declare a federal emergency in the state on Friday, as more than 1,000 wildfires continued to burn.The firefighters need whatever help they can get. Those men and women out on the fire lines have been working nearly non-stop for the last month now. I hope Bush gives the state what the Governor has asked for. We also need some better weather. Fewer thunder storms, maybe some rain....
In a statement, Schwarzenegger said he had written to Bush to request the declaration, which would make federal resources available to firefighters who have been stretched to capacity by the sheer number of fires.
Schwarzenegger said the fires were "of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state," stating that "federal assistance is necessary to save lives."
The California Fire News blog has an entry up this morning about the Red Flag and Fire Weather warnings that have been issued. It's pretty scary reading through the list. Predictions of bad air due to smoke, more thunder storms... It's bad. And I have a hunch it's going to get worse before it gets better.