Camp Fire still burning, new dangerous threats arising
Posted: Nov 20, 2018 12:51 PM EDT
70% contained, according to officials. Now, with plenty of rain in the forecast, new problems are set to arise. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for the burn areas of not only the Camp Fire, but the recent Carr Fire, Delta Fire, and the Mendocino Complex. Upwards of 2-6" of rain is forecast to fall over those areas, which will lead to a significant flood threat and mudslide risk as burn areas do not absorb water much at all. The rain that falls has to go somewhere, though, so it will either flow downhill or simply add up and cause flooding depending on the location. If the rain flows downhill, it has the potential to move quite fast. This can lead to burned debris and vegetation getting picked up by the flowing water, resulting in what is known as a debris flow. These can be extremely dangerous to those in their path due to their speed and potential to contain dangerous debris. They can be strong enough and can move quick enough to carry a vehicle or destroy a home. The National Weather Service in Sacramento is warning those in burn areas to either leave or seek higher ground ahead of the rain. With the fire being at its highest containment point yet, let's look back at just how large it was at its peak of 223 square miles. That is larger than many large cities across the United States. It's larger than Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and as large as Chicago. Picture that for a second; the entire City of Chicago being covered by a raging wildfire. While not technically the largest wildfire in California history, its size was certainly extreme. It would have covered South Bend nearly six times, Elkhart more than ten times and Mishawaka nearly 15 times! Looking ahead, officials say the Camp Fire won't have full containment until November 30th. The Woolsey Fire north of Los Angeles is expected to be fully contained by Thanksgiving Day.