Hurricane Kay Effects on Fires in California

The state of California is in the midst of fighting fires, including Southern California’s Fairview Fire, which has been affecting a large area near and in Riverside County’s Hemet. That challenge has been recently combined by Tropical Storm Kay’s remnants affecting the area in both positive and negative ways.

The main positive effect that has resulted from the remnants of that storm has been its rain, which helped add a tremendous amount of natural water to the firefighters’ efforts. On Saturday, the fire’s containment had gone from a precarious 5%, where it had been for nearly a week, to an encouraging 40%. This development has resulted in thousands of residents no longer being under mandatory evacuation orders.

However, the impact of this tropical storm is not all positive. Its high winds have the potential to fan flames and cause them to get out of control again. In addition, lightning strikes can spark fires in areas that were under control or even spark flames in new areas. Those factors mean that there is an addition of unpredictableness to this situation that had not been there before.

Also, high winds have caused some of the firefighting operations helicopters to be grounded, harming its ability to fight the flames on the ground.

Of course, those in California are also concerned about the storm-focused dangers that exist. These include floods and mudslides. Instances like those combined with the effects of soot and ash can cause a significant amount of damage to buildings and infrastructure. In fact, the National Weather Service said that some areas were expected to receive 7 or more inches of precipitation, increasing the odds of floods and mudslides.

Fortunately, however, the negative impact of this tropical storm remnants coming through the area has been limited.

Tropical Storm Kay had been Hurricane Kay before being downgraded to a tropical storm after it made landfall in Baja California and then headed back over the Pacific Ocean, resulting in less of an effect on California than on that Mexican peninsula.

However, several people have suffered fire damage and have also been adversely affected by all of the soot and ash that has been caused by this and other fires in the Golden State. Some lives have been lost while others have suffered non-fatal injuries.

Although the combined effects of Tropical Storm Kay and the Fairview Fire appear to be working well together, this has not always been the case in this type of situation.

For example, in 2018, the Thomas Fire, which took place in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, was accompanied by flooding and mudslides. That combination resulted in 21 deaths. Additionally, to the north, in Marin County, rain-caused mudslides in 2019 followed fires from the previous year.

So, it is possible for winter rain in Riverside County to have a connection with the Fairview Fire months after it has been put out, which is something for residents here to be on alert for. That is because fires cause fire damage in another way: affected soil not being able to absorb liquids nearly as well as it used to. In other words, situations such as mudslides are much more apt to occur in this area for some time to come.

Another concern for firefighters and others has been that heavy rainfall and high winds can cause downed trees, which can result in difficulty in firefighters being able to transport themselves to the best areas to fight the flames as well as harm the ability of others to depart the area for safer places. Storm-caused power outages can also adversely harm the efforts of both groups of people.

There is also concern for those affected by the Mosquito Fire, which has been burning in El Dorado and Placer Counties, for when rain becomes much more likely in that area this fall and winter.

Although there has been no confirmed cause for the flames that have occurred outside of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Southern California Edison, an electricity supplier, reported that “circuit activity” had occurred at roughly the same time that the fire’s flames were initially reported on Monday afternoon.

Regardless of who was at fault, if anyone or any organization was at fault, affected individuals sometimes need to consult the services of an attorney. An attorney is also sometimes needed by those who have been negatively affected by a natural disaster, depending on the circumstances of the event as “acts of God” or other events outside of human control are generally not litigious.

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