Weekend storms could be a mixed blessing for crews battling California’s largest wildfire — or an even bigger blessing.
The flames burning the interior of the state’s largest tree, or as they’re called in California, the Great Oaks of San Diego County, are just 100 acres long, but that means they consume over 400,000 acres of land an hour. These areas, along with other fuel, fuels and trees, were all likely killed by the fire, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
But they’re not gone yet. The largest, single structure it consumed — a 7,000-square-foot house — was eventually burned down.
If the fire, which is now 80,000 acres and still claiming lives, wasn’t difficult to combat, it’s likely that the blaze would have been contained to a much smaller area. The Forest Service has more than 17,000 personnel, 70 helicopters, 24 aircraft, 16 bulldozers and two trucks. The Air National Guard’s Air Attack Team’s 735th Squadron is responsible for flying more than 1,100 missions.
In an interview with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) this week, she noted that the fire was “in an area where it could have burned forever.”
“There just doesn’t seem to be the time to do it in a very big area,” she said.
Her comments were echoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who tweeted that the fire was “too big for the Forest Service to fight it in a timely manner.”
The blaze, which began in the rugged Sierra Nevada mountain range on Nov. 8, has forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes, and it’s burning through more than 4,100 acres per day, according to CalFire.
It also burned through over 1,100 square miles of land, including the town of Norco.
But, according to a press release from California’s Forest