Lately, the majority of the nation has seen an uptick in damaging winter storms. Meanwhile, California residents in south Los Angeles experience other harsh conditions as they had to evacuate Thursday ahead of the state’s Emerald Fire. The coastal state’s latest wildfire ignited early the same day, around 4 a.m. local time.
According to Fox News, the Emerald Fire-prompted evacuations applied to L.A.’s nearby city, Laguna Beach. Schools shut down as a result while one of the area’s key roadways remains blocked off. As of now, the outlet reported the blaze spans just 7-10 acres. However, Outsiders know, in a state frequently plagued by drought, there’s always the potential for the fire to spread.
Fortunately, in this case, Orange County Fire Authority’s Chief Brian Fennessy reported the wildfire has since slowed. He stated control over the fire “is looking very good.”
Nevertheless, evacuations remain in effect, the city of Laguna Beach issuing a statement detailing the local police department’s evacuation order.
“The Laguna Beach Police Department has issued an IMMEDIATE EVACUATION ORDER for Irvine Cove and Emerald bay (both North AND South Emerald Bay,” the statement read. In addition, authorities issued an evacuation warning for all of North Laguna. The order specifically applied to all residents north of Broadway in Laguna Beach.
In speaking with Fox’s LiveNOW, one Emerald Bay resident shared his experience of the wildfire.
As per the outlet, he’d first smelled smoke this morning. He then “opened the door and it was all orange and bright outside the front door.”
Additionally, he stated, “It looks like the houses, at least for now, have been preserved.”
At the moment, the cause of the fire remains unknown.
South Dakota Takes Action to Prevent Major Fires This Season
For now, news regarding CA’s Emerald Fire is developing, and as more information becomes available, we’ll be sure to share that with Outsiders. However, farther East, crews in South Dakota have begun burning mounds of debris left behind by previous tornadoes ahead of this year’s fire season.
Over the last couple of years, tornadoes have remained a consistent threat especially in the southwestern regions of the state. After so many touchdowns, especially near Black Hills National Forest, fallen trees and uprooted vegetation creates the perfect tinder for massive wildfires.
In order to get ahead of the problem, fire crews have taken to the forest, tasked with burning hundreds of acres of natural debris.
Although the task seems daunting, crews are at least facing favorable conditions for these controlled burns. As the U.S. Forest Service states, snow accumulations alongside decreased winds make the intentionally lit burns much easier to control. As such, it hastens the process ahead of wildfire season.
Specifically, the Forest Service states controlled burns, like the ones taking place ahead of SD’s fire season, require a minimum of two inches of snow to be completed safely. With less than two inches, fire crews face the risk of embers sparking wildfires unintentionally elsewhere.
According to the forest’s park rangers, the end of January saw 200 piles of tornado debris burned alone. Although, authorities plan to continue the controlled burns until winter weather concludes.