Firefighters in northern california are making good progress in the battle against at least one of the devastating forest fires. They had had a "very successful night," the cal fire agency announced on thursday.
It now sees the shasta county fire as 26 percent under control – as of wednesday evening, cal fire was still projected to be 9 percent under control. However, a stronger wind was expected to return in the evening, with the weather remaining dry and bright, which could again intensify the flames.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the so-called zogg fire in shasta county rose to four. A man died in hospital from burns, the local sheriff told NBC television. The zogg fire has so far affected an area of about 224 square kilometers. 147 buildings destroyed by fire, more than 1500 others threatened by flames. More than 1300 firefighters with 133 fire engines and 13 helicopters were recently deployed.
In the californian wine regions of napa and sonoma valley, too, around 2,000 firefighters continue to battle against the spreading forest fires. The so-called glass fire was only two percent under control by wednesday evening despite a massive deployment of helpers, according to the cal fire agency. Since sunday, the flames have destroyed dozens of structures, including wineries, and driven tens of thousands of people into flight.
Over 20,000 houses are in the danger zone, it said. In the city of calistoga all about 5000 residents were called to evacuate. Also parts of the village st. Helena with nearly 6000 inhabitants had to be evacuated.
The causes of both fires are not yet known. Dry weather with temperatures around 35 degrees celsius and strong winds favored the spread of the fires. Only at the weekend a slight cooling is expected in the region.
Since mid august, the u.S. West coast has been hit by hundreds of fires. At least 30 people lost their lives. The most severe fires in california’s recent history have already destroyed nearly 16,000 square kilometers of land, comparable to the plain of schleswig-holstein. According to cal fire, five of the six most severe fires in california’s recent history have broken out since this august. The flatmab gross fire, which hit a flat of 3800 square miles, is 47 percent under control, according to cal fire.