First California Wildfire a 'Taste of What's to Come'

Hot and windy conditions are fueling the Post Fire near Los Angeles
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2024 7:54 AM CDT
California's First Wildfire of Season Doesn't Bode Well
Firefighters work against the advancing Post Fire early Sunday, June 16, 2024, in Gorman, Calif.   (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

California's first major wildfire of the season is here, and the newly named Post Fire is not expected to enter the record books in terms of scale or damage. But the nature of the fire in Los Angeles County and the fact that it's only mid-June nonetheless has scientists and firefighters worried about what's in store for this summer, reports the New York Times.

  • Status: The fire in a mountainous region north of Los Angeles grew to 23 square miles, or roughly 15,000 acres, on Sunday and forced the evacuation of about 1,200 campers, per the AP and the Los Angeles Times. It was only 2% contained as of Sunday evening. No injuries have been reported.

  • The threat: The Post Fire started Saturday and spread quickly in hot and windy conditions, fueled by dry vegetation. "This is a taste of what's to come," climate scientist Daniel Swain of UCLA tells the Times. California is seeing more extremes in precipitation, he explains: Heavier than usual rain caused vegetation to grow, but a hot spring has turned that vegetation into dry brush poised to kindle.
  • Too windy: High winds aren't helping in this case. "When it's windy, it just sprays the water everywhere we don't need it," says Kenichi Haskett of the LA County Fire Department. "So that's a challenge." It's a reminder that if Southern California's famous Santa Ana winds are worse than normal this year, the summer fire season could be brutal. Firefighters also are battling a smaller fire near Lake Sonoma in Northern California.
(More California wildfires stories.)

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