Whatever sparked the deadly wildfires of California that have now claimed the largest death toll - 44, from such events, in the state's history, one factor remains constant in all the tragic episodes: nature - the arid environment of California coupled with the Santa Ana winds, and not forest mismanagement.
Sadly, 42 deaths have been claimed thus far by the monstrous Camp Fire, according to CNN and it has scorched 117,000 acres in Northern part of the state, gutting 7,000 structures, including 6,453 single-family homes and almost wiping out the entire town of Paradise, which has lost between 80-90% of its homes.
The Woolsey Fire in Southern California, in Ventura County, has charred 93,000 acres, claimed two lives, 435 structures and threatens another 57,000. Two other fires flared up yesterday in Ventura County - The Rocky Peak Fire, burning 20 acres and the Lynn Fire, burning another 15 acres. The original third fire, The Hill Fire in Los Angeles, scorched 4,531 acres before becoming 85% contained.
While an unfortunate 300,000 Californians remain displaced by the wildfires and 100 people remain missing, the Santa Ana winds - a natural weather feature of California, could complicate the efforts of firefighters as they are expected to howl close to hurricane force of between 60 and 70 miles-per-hour, later today.
Whether or not a spark from any utility company or from some other source started any of the wildfires, the reality of California's arid nature makes its environment very prone to wildfires as well as earthquakes. Forest mismanagement is unlikely the source of any wildfires in California.
We pray for rain, for the Santa Ana winds to abate and for the safeguard of all lives in California.