California – The more than 400 firefighters accompanied by specially modified helicopters have been able to control 75% of the wildfire that spread through Calabasas and Topanga in Southern California. Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Captain Eddie Rivero said that by Sunday morning, the fire was almost controlled. The catastrophe forced officials to evacuate more than 3,700 houses from the two affected cities.

Firefighters approach a brush in the foothills outside of Calabasas, Calif. on Saturday, June 4, 2016. Image courtesy of NBC News/ Richard Vogel / AP

Last Saturday, the firefighters started dealing with a growing fire. By the end of that day,  it had already devoured at least 500 acres which led officials to launch the evacuation. However, they have already contained the situation, and the authorities said people from Calabasas could return home already. But they warned the population that there was no electrical power. For the people of Topanga, the situation is still complicated, and people will have to wait before they can return their houses.

Even though most of the problem has been addressed, the situation is very different in the southeast part. Deputy Chief John Tripp explained the fire is still big, and it’s “up on a mid-slope of the canyon.” In that situation, firefighters cannot approach it directly. He said if the winds move the flames, and it reaches more fuel (trees, for example), the events from Saturday could repeat. To keep this from happening, the team is using specially modified helicopters that can collect immense amounts of water and drop it on the problem, like a giant bucket of water.

So far, a spokesperson from Los Angeles Fire Department said the fire had three origins, but the investigation is ongoing because they do not know what was the cause or causes of the problem.

Wildfires or wildland fires happen when flames take advantage of an area full of combustible vegetation. They are different from similar problems because they can spread with ease through roads and rivers. They are voracious, they usually grow fast and change directions in an erratically way which makes them particularly troublesome to control.

Wildfires are quasi-natural hazards which mean they can be caused by nature itself or the intervention of men. The most common natural causes are bolts of lightning, volcanic eruptions, and spontaneous combustion. On the other hand, litter such as glass, cigarettes, and camping equipment have been reported to start lots of problems making the lives of firefighters very hard. If a person is caught littering, he could face fines, jail time or even forced community labor. However, for arsonists, penalties are much more severe.

Firefighters have become excellent at controlling this kind of problem using water, fire retardants and unmanned vehicles, like plains and helicopters. According to statistics, at least 10,000 wildfires start every year, and the specialists contain 99.9% of them before they get big and mean. But by looking at the problems caused in Calabasas and Topanga, that 0.1% is still dangerous, and the government of the United States knows it. That is why a lot of agencies work with enthusiast to encourage wildfire prevention in almost all the countryside.

Source: Daily Mail