Around 27 000 people were force to evacuate their homes in the cities of Ventura and Santa Paula in Ventura County, California, as a wildfire swept through the area overnight between Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 December 2017. There are no known fatalities associated with the event at this time (an earlier reported fatality has now been found to be erroneous, though one firefighter is has been injured while tackling the blaze.
Burning hillside to the north of Santa Paula in Ventura County, California, on Monday 4 December 2017. Ventura County Fire Department.
California has suffered a series of wildfires this year. The fires have a variety of causes and have been fuelled by dry winds blowing from the mountains in the northeast of the state, but are essentially due to a prolonged drought in the state, which has been experiencing dry conditions since 2011, the longest such drought in the state's recorded history. This drought has killed vegetation, including thousands of trees, across much of central California, providing dry tinder to fuel the fires, despite high rainfall that caused flooding in parts of the state in the winter of 2016-7. The draught has been made worse by the diversion of water to suit Human purposes, such as agriculture, industry and leisure, which has taken water away from other ecosystems, resulting in the build-up of dead, dry vegetation that has produced fuel for the fires.
The approximate location of the December 2017 Ventura County wildfire. Google Maps.
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