California is in a state of emergency since wildfires started ravaging the northern part of the state Oct. 8. The damage is has increased rapidly and continues to do so. It is estimated that 8,400 structures have been lost. In Santa Rosa County, where homes range upwards of $600,000, it is estimated that five percent of housing has been destroyed.
There have been 42 fatalities in total, 23 of which come from Sonoma County where the majority of the damage has occurred. The county is implementing toxic waste clean up as many gas lines and sewage systems have been affected by the fires. The project is expected to continue into early of 2018. Two hundred and forty five thousand acres have been destroyed by the fire, and over 102 million trees have burned
California is coming off one of its wettest winters. This left many hillsides covered in grass and other vegetation.The grass then dries out, turning it to pure tinder providing fuel for the extreme Santa Winds that the state experienced at the beginning of this month. These winds blow at over 70 mph. As of Oct. 17, over 11,000 firefighters were on the front lines of 12 large fires across the state.
One of the major issues the fires create is the thousands of citizens without shelter. The Red Cross has responded quickly and opened shelters across the state, but there is simply not enough room for the vast number of Californians without homes.
Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a $34,000 grant per individual to both renters and homeowners who have sustained significant damage to their property during a natural disaster. However, this still leaves many homeowners wondering what their next steps will be to rebuild their lives after all of the fires are fully contained.
Donations can be made to the California Wildlife Relief Fund.
Photo Courtesy of NBC News.