World Socialist Web Site speaks with California wildfire evacuees
16 November 2018
After burning for more than one week, the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles has destroyed over 98,300 acres, approximately equal in size to the city of Denver, Colorado. The fire prompted the evacuation of more than 295,000 people and is responsible for three deaths thus far. An estimated 504 structures have been destroyed and an entire section of the Pacific Coast Highway remains closed.
As new details emerge of the Woolsey Fire’s devastation, the death toll in Northern California’s Camp Fire jumped to 63 on Thursday with the number of missing increasing to 631. The Camp Fire is now the deadliest wildfire in California history. More than 11,862 structures have been destroyed as of this writing. The Camp Fire completely destroyed the town of Paradise in the Sierra Nevada mountain foothills leaving more than 26,000 residents with no homes to return to.
The Woolsey Fire has affected the cities of Malibu, Bell Canyon, Oak Park, West Hills, Calabasas, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks—all west of downtown Los Angeles. When the fire started last Thursday night, strong winds blew hot embers across entire sections of freeway and delayed the use of aerial fire suppression for three days.
Only one day before the fire started, the Thousand Oaks community was devastated by a mass shooting of mainly college students at the Borderline Bar and Grill, ending with the deaths of 13 people. This was one of the 20 most deadly mass shootings in US history and the second deadliest in the state of California.
Although still severely traumatized by the shooting, survivors were forced to flee the oncoming flames only one day later.
The weakening of the Santa Ana winds over the past two days has…