Several massive wildfires ravaged across California throughout July with structural damages and evacuations being some of the consequences. The fires have been causing a state of emergency in areas all over California as they have spread quickly, in an unpredictable manner and over very large areas at once.

Emergency personnel in California have incessantly been fighting huge wildfires across the state of California during a very hot and dry July. Apart from damages to property across large areas, there have also been reports of injured emergency staff. Even though the western part of USA is regularly affected by a wildfire season during this time of the year, the extent of the fires this year is remarkable and the number of affected residents have been extraordinarily high. Reasons behind this were reported to be the dry, windy and hot conditions that have fueled the wildfire season.

Our in-app advice for what to do during a fire:

Avoid the fire area near by all means.

Follow advice and instructions given by local authorities. Evacuate immediately if instructed to do so.

If instructed to stay indoors due to hazardous smoke or gases you should:

  • Close all doors, windows and vents
  • Turn off air condition and ventilation or set ventilation systems to 100 percent recirculation
  • Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels or plastic sheeting and duct tape

There have been several disruptions for travelers due to the rapid movements of the fires, resulting in closed roads on short notice and several thousand people forced to evacuate large areas and entire towns. SAFEY has continuously reported on the development of the wildfires. There have been regular updates on the spread of fires, disruptions and planned evacuations. In early July, as a fire was reported to approach the Sierra Nevada foothill community a forewarning alert was published and was followed by early information on the ordered evacuation by local authorities of about 2000 residents. Users were later forewarned or later urgently informed of the massive Mariposa evacuations that took place on Wednesday 19 July due to a fire burning out of control near Yosemite National Park. More than 300 homes and buildings were threatened by the blaze in Mariposa town and in other mountain communities southwest of the park. The fire weakened only about one week later but continued to cause disruptions on major highways as evacuation orders remained in place.

Emergency organizations have been operating on a regular basis throughout the month as shelters and meals were being offered to evacuated residents. The importance of quick and concise information has become more evident as planned itineraries have been forced to change quickly and remain flexible due to these severe circumstances.