The Devastating Wildfires Tearing Through California
Strong winds were blowing again on Monday in California, and that is very bad news for millions of people hoping to avoid some of the most destructive wildfires the state has ever seen.
Whipping winds and tinder-dry conditions threaten areas statewide through the rest of the week, fire officials warned.
Officials also said that it could take weeks to fully contain the deadly wildfires raging across Northern and Southern California. At least 31 people have been killed, and that number is likely to grow.
The so-called "Camp Fire" alone has burned more than 6,000 structures, making the Northern California blaze the most destructive fire in state history. Thousands more structures were in danger.
The "Camp Fire" is one of three major wildfires burning in the state. The "Woolsey Fire" and "Hill Fire" are burning northwest of Los Angeles.
New Fires Ignite In Southern California
Two new fires ignited on Monday morning in Southern California, fire officials said. Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said at a press conference that the fires started within minutes of each other.
One of the fires started south of State Route 188. Authorities were closing the highway in both directions, Lorenzen said.
Evacuations were also being carried out in the Lake Manor and Box Canyon areas.
Patients Evacuated From Hospital As Fire Closed In
A registered nurse was one of several hospital staff members in Northern California who helped evacuate patients as the "Camp Fire" closed in, CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal reports. Darrell Wilken and his patients fled the raging flames in Paradise, which was nearly wiped out.
"It was everywhere," Wilken said. He had three patients, two critical, in his car.
Vehicles around him were on fire. He thought they may be next, so he and his patients called their families to say goodbye.
"What do you do when you go through hell?" Wilken said. "You just keep going."
It took them more three hours to get through hell. "I'm still shaking, every time I talk about it," Wilken said.
Winds Threaten To Undo Firefighters' Progress
Winds threatened to undo the progress that firefighters made over the weekend, "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor reports from Calabasas, California, on the western edge of Los Angeles County. On Sunday night, officials ordered all of the nearly 25,000 people who live in Calabasas to evacuate.
Winds began picking up overnight Sunday with one gust measured at 58 mph (93 km/h) Gusts this week were forecast to hit as high as 70 mph (112 km/h).
The gusts are what make the fires spread so quickly. The winds also threaten to ground helicopters and planes that are used to drop water, which could force crews to fight the flames solely from the ground.
"Camp Fire" Jumps Across Part Of Lake
The "Camp Fire" was active all night long Sunday and jumped 300 feet (91. metres) across a portion of Lake Oroville at least three times, Jonathan Pangburn, a fire behavior specialist at Cal Fire, said Monday morning. Officials said more than 4,500 firefighters are on day four of their battle against the blaze.
After a lull of strong winds that make for dangerous fire conditions, the area near Paradise -- a town of 27,000 that was largely incinerated Thursday -- will have wind gusts as high as 40 mph (64 km/h) by Monday evening.
Featured Image: Getty Images.