Wildfires are raging through Southern California, fueled by strong Santa Ana winds and dry vegetation, and people, homes, and businesses are being threatened. It is important to understand your legal rights should you be affected by the fires, and an attorney may be able to help. The lawyers at Schmidt National Law Group are experienced in helping people and their loved ones recover from natural disasters such as these devastating wildfires. Call Schmidt National Law Group today to learn more about how we may be able to help.
Thomas Fire, Ventura County
On Dec. 4, a fire sparked in Ventura County, California and quickly grew as firefighters fought back the blaze. As of Dec. 6, the fire has burned roughly 90,000 acres and has destroyed hundreds of homes, businesses, and other buildings.
Many residents were put under mandatory curfews to protect their safety and prevent looting and other crimes. The fire still raging, and may be fueled further by Santa Ana winds, which were expected to reach up to 64 mph.
Health officials are calling on Ventura residents to wear masks to protect themselves against possible health problems, as the fires were creating a “severe impact on air quality and visibility,” according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency on Dec. 5 because of the wildfires.
Skirball Fire, Los Angeles
A fire ignited in Los Angeles on Dec. 6, destroying homes and businesses in some of LA’s most affluent neighborhoods, including Bel-Air. Evacuations were ordered in these neighborhoods, affecting about 46,000 people.
The fire shut down both the 101 freeway — the iconic road that runs along the Pacific Coast — and the 405 freeway, the main artery that moves thousands of people to and from work each day.
The Getty Museum, which sits next to the 405 freeway, was also threatened by the flames, but the museum said it would not move the valuable artwork located inside and around its grounds.
More than 260 schools were shut down in LA as the fires continued to burn uncontained and 300 engines carrying firefighters from out of state were sent to Southern California to help battle the blazes.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency in the city on Dec. 6 due to the wildfires.
There were two other fires burning in Southern California as of Dec. 6, threatening homes and other buildings north of Los Angeles.
The Creek Fire is the second largest fire, having burned 12,000 acres so far and injuring at least seven firefighters. The Creek Fire is burning in the Sylmar and Tujunga areas of Los Angeles.
The Rye Fire is burning is northern Los Angeles County and has already destroyed 7,000 acres near Santa Clarita.
California has had an especially destructive fire season in 2017, with millions of acres burned, over 40 people dead, and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed since it began. Many factors have contributed to the possibly worst fire season California has seen on record.
Weather patterns have affected this year’s blazes. California experienced an unusually wet winter, which caused blooms of vegetation that then dried out in one of the hottest summers ever recorded. This dry vegetation proved to be the fuel the wildfires needed to burn.
California is also experiencing longer fire seasons, which used to peak in October. Dense and rapid development of the land has meant more homes closer to woodlands and potential flames; and Santa Ana winds blow hot, dry air in from California’s inland out to the coast, fanning the fires. This year’s Santa Ana’s were strongest so far this early December.
As the wildfires continue to burn in Southern California, it is imperative to heed the warnings of officials as it relates to evacuations and other warnings. The fires have already burned tens of thousands of acres and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.
Sometimes, insurance does not cover all of the losses people experience when they are affected by wildfires. An attorney may be able to help you recoup money lost due damages from the destructive blazes.
Call the experienced lawyers and attorneys at Schmidt National Law Group today at 800-631-5656 to find out how we can help.
New York Times. “California Fires Enter the Heart of Los Angeles.” By Jennifer Medina And Richard Pérez-peña. Published Dec. 6, 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/06/us/california-fires.html
CNN. “Southern California firefighters race against time, winds.” By Jason Hanna, Madison Park, Stella Chan and Steve Almasy. Published Dec. 6, 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/06/us/ventura-fire-southern-california/index.html
CNN. “Getty Museum says it’s ‘safest place’ for art if fires threaten.” By Eric Levenson. Published on Dec. 6, 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/06/us/getty-museum-fire-california/index.html