Blog Note Preface: And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Luke 21:11). Jesus is giving a series of prophecies about what to look for as the age of grace comes to a close. This verse from Luke is one of many such prophecies from throughout the Bible. 2017 was the worst year in recorded history for the intensity, frequency, severity, duration and occurrence of a large number of severe natural disasters worldwide. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, torrential flooding, unprecedented wildfires in unusual places, devastating droughts, excessive/scorching heat setting records everywhere, record snowfalls in Europe and Russia. Snow in the Arabia. This list can go on. Most studied eschatologists believe these ‘fearful sights’ and massive natural disasters are all part of the ‘CONVERGENCE’ of signs that this Biblical and prophetic age is closing. Most people who study prophecy are familiar with the routine reference(s) made that these things will be like a woman having labor pains that occur in greater severity, frequency and occurrence prior to giving birth. End of note.
Thomas Fire to become largest wildfire in California history as dry weather persists
By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist. December 22, 2017, 1:01:10 PM EST
“The uptick in the wind hampered containment efforts of the devastating Thomas Fire and reversed firefighter’s progress earlier this week,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott. The Thomas Fire has caused two fatalities. Over 6,800 personnel are working around the clock to increase the fire’s containment level, which is currently 60 percent.
No rain is forecast through the end of 2017.
Due to dry air and dry brush, the threat of new fires will continue well after the winds die down on Friday. Outdoor flames of any kind, tossing cigarette butts and parking cars over dry brush should be avoided.
Another round of strong winds may develop later next week if a batch of cold air builds southward over the Intermountain West.
Why the devastating California wildfires have been so unusual, extreme this December
By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer. December 22, 2017, 9:50:10 PM EST
Several large and devastating wildfires have led to mass evacuations in Southern California this December, which is extremely unusual for this time of year. Most notably, the Thomas Fire, which has burned 273,400 acres, has become the largest wildfire in California history. This is larger than the Cedar Fire, which burned 273,246 acres in October 2003 in San Diego, according to CalFire.
Thomas Fire: The Thomas Fire ignited in December 2017 and has charred 273,400 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. It killed one firefighter and has destroyed more than 1,000 structures.
Cedar Fire: In October 2003, the Cedar Fire burned 273,246 acres in San Diego County. It killed 15 people and destroyed 2,820 structures.
Rush Fire: In August 2012, the Rush Fire burned 271,911 acres in Lassen County, California, and another 43,666 in Nevada.
Rim Fire: In August 2013, the Rim Fire burned 257,314 acres in Tuolumne County. It destroyed 112 structures.
Zaca Fire: In July 2007, the Zaca Fire burned 240,207 acres in Santa Barbara County. The fire destroyed one structure.
Information via Cal Fire as of 6 p.m. PST Friday, Dec. 22.
While this December has been particularly active, the month typically tends to be one of the calmer months in terms of wildfires. There have been only eight California wildfires that burned more than 300 acres in December from 2000 to 2015. The second lowest months for large fire activity are January and February, according to CalFire. In comparison, there have already been six wildfires that burned more than 300 acres this December. In this Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, flames from a back firing operation underway rise behind a home off Ladera Lane near Bella Vista Drive in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)
Of the eight fires in December from 2000 to 2015, five were in Southern California and two were in Ventura County. The total acres burned in those seven fires is 22,835, which is only a fraction of the Thomas Fire burning in Ventura County. The previous largest fire in December was the Shekell Fire in Ventura, which burned 13,600 acres in 2006. Wildfires are rare in December due to typical weather patterns in the Golden State. California has a dry season and a rainy season. The wet season typically peaks between December and March. Extreme wildfires do not usually happen in California during December because it is usually in the wet season, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root. “Storms usually start to dip farther south across the western United States late in the year, which brings rain and mountain snow to the state,” Root said.
However, this year has been different. There are two main factors that are contributing to the extreme wildfires this December. The year started out historically wet across the state, causing an abundance of new vegetation. This vegetation dried out during the hot and dry summer season. “This has provided more dry fuels than normal,” Root said. Areas outside of Northern California have not seen much, if any, rain so far during the early part of the wet season. “With Santa Ana wind events usually peaking late in the year, the combination of this, new vegetation from earlier in the year and the dry start to the rainy season have all led to dangerous fire conditions extending into December,” Root said.