The death toll has now reached 40 with hundreds of people still unaccounted for as wild fires continue to ravage northern California on the west coast of the United States(US).
The fires that started about a week-ago have been re-flared by strong winds spewing embers across an already arid region of more than 220,000 acres, some 50-miles north of San Francisco. Acrid smoke has choked the Bay area from the flames around Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, which have charred more than 5,700 homes and businesses including wineries, a major economic provider to the Californian economy.
More than 10,000 firefighters are battling the numerous blazes that are aggravated by wind gusts in excess of 70-miles-per-hour. The number of residents displaced by the fires are more than 100,000. Hopes are that the winds will abate soon allowing firefighters an upper hand in fighting the fires, thus bringing them under control and ending the disaster.
The northern California fires have joined a lengthening list of deadly unprecedented natural disasters, including three-category 5 storms that have plagued the western hemisphere this past summer and now into Autumn. Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma devastated islands of the Caribbean including Barbuda, Dominica, Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands, as well as St. Martin, Martinique and Guadeloupe. Deaths and devastation also reached the US mainland in Florida and in Texas. Mexico suffered two deadly earthquakes also this summer.
Britain, North Ireland and Ireland are under a storm threat today of a possible landfall from unique Hurricane Ophelia, which has impacted the Iberian peninsula(Portugal and Spain) on its northern path in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Should this storm make landfall in the United Kingdom tomorrow, it would do so, according to the BBC-News, exactly 30-years since the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18.
Global warming and climate change are obvious contributors to these strange natural disasters. And as the 2017 hurricane season comes to a close soon at the end of November, 'old man winter' remains capable of delivering its own types of disasters. Safety and peace to all.