The images speak for themselves.
“We have witnessed just an incredible natural disaster here, these wildfires in December have really just had a major impact.” says Jessica Piffero with the Central Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, stationed at the Ventura County command center.
“This is truly just a massive undertaking of relief efforts to make sure all of these thousands of people impacted by this fire are safe and comfortable.”
Piffero says that across Southern California around 600 people are staying at 12 Red Cross shelters set up through the area.
“We did open additional shelters last night because there are additional evacuation orders in place.”
Piffero is just one of many from various relief organizations and firefighting units like CalFire and the Forest Service who’ve made the trip from here in the valley to help those affected.
But besides personnel, how has the fire impacted us in Central California?
“We’ve been very fortunate here in the valley,” says Heather Heinks with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, “We recognize there’s a pretty big wildfire burning in the Southern part of the state and the smoke impacts are heading out to the ocean.”
Heinks and the team at the air district have been closely monitoring the smoke from the blazes to our South and it’s potential impact on our own air locally.
“Part of the wind pattern takes them North a little bit but it doesn’t seem to be coming into the Valley at all.”
Offshore flow associated with a strong ridge of high pressure may not be taking that smoke our direction, it seems our issues with air quality at the moment are homegrown.
“Keep in mind when you burn locally in your home and residence you can create similar impacts.” says Heinks.