President Donald Trump today declared a state of emergency for the California wildfires raging across the southern part of the state since Tuesday. A total of six fires covering 141,000 acres are now active in the region, according to CalFire today, with 212,000 evacuated overall from Ventura County’s massive Thomas Fire to San Diego County’s Lilac Fire which started yesterday.
The White House declaration will make available federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts, including FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.
As of this morning, more than 500 structures have been destroyed and 25,660 homes are threatened in the fires, according to officials. Currently, 8700 personnel are committed to the firefighting effort.
Last night, Los Angeles officials allowed some evacuated residents to return to their homes in the fires burning in the city limits: the Skirball Fire in the Sepulveda Pass that includes the Bel-Air neighborhood, and the Creek Fire still growing in Sylmar and Sunland/Tujunga. But the Thomas Fire continues to spread, growing to 132,000 acres and only 10% containment.
Despite a calmer wind day yesterday that allowed crews to get a better handle on the Skirball Fire, red flag conditions in the region keep being extended, and are now active through Sunday night. That is due to the Santa Ana winds and tinder-dry conditions that help fuel the fires.
Latest numbers on the major fires (as of this morning):
Thomas Fire (Ventura County): 132,000 acres, 10% contained
Creek Fire (Los Angeles): 15,323 acres, 40% contained
Rye Fire (Santa Clarita): 6,049 acres, 35% contained
Lilac Fire (San Diego County): 4,000 acres, 8% contained
Skirball Fire (Los Angeles): 475 acres, 30% contained
Liberty Fire (San Bernardino County): 300 acres, 60% contained