Photo via KDRV

2017 has been a devastating year for natural disasters around the world and here in the United States. Unfortunately, we may end the year fighting one of the most costly wildfires in history. 

Normally, fire season is typically summer and fall in California, when high temperatures and little precipitation create ideal conditions for fires. 2017 has been very different. We're nearly through December and counties all over Southern California are burning up, including over 1,000 structures that have been destroyed in a number of different areas. 

The largest fire is being called the Thomas fire, which started in Ventura County and has now spread to Santa Barbara County due to high winds and following dry, ripe fuel in forests that link to the two areas. Firefighters from around the country have flocked to the region, but the fire remains just 20% contained and experts forecast that the full efforts of fire crews will almost certainly be required through the holidays. 

According to CNN, the Thomas fire alone has cost $48 million to fight, and expenses are sure to rise as the battle to contain the blaze continues. That includes the cost of employing over 7,000 firefighters in the Thomas fire, with a further 2,000 engaged in a half dozen other fires that are also raging in Southern California. Nearly 100,000 residents have been forced to evacuate their homes, and that could increase in coming days as the fire danger index grows even higher. 

It's a stunning situation that comes after one of the most destructive years in US history. Wildfires have cost $10 billion in 2017, and that number comes before adding the current December fires to the total. 

It will take years for the region to fully recover, but you can help. There are a number of local charities that are offering emergency services, shelter, food, and evacuation services all over the region, with many efforts focused on ravaged Ventura County.

Donate here and let's help bring attention to the people affected by these events. 


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