The Willow Fire in California has been scorching the Sierra National Forest for almost a week. The wildfire has spread to 5,116 acres, although it is now 50 percent contained, the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported Saturday morning:
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) August 1, 2015
The fire in central California was caused by a boy who was burning pine needles with a lighter July 25, as reported by the Associated Press. A mandatory evacuation order was issued subsequently for the Cascadel Woods community, encompassing about 200 homes. The American Red Cross is on-site with an evacuation center housed in a community center.
— Cal OES (@Cal_OES) July 31, 2015
— Sierra Ntl. Forest (@Sierra_NF) July 30, 2015
The Willow Fire is one of 23 wildfires burning across California, AP reported. To aid in fighting the flames, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Friday.
There are currently 1,958 people combating the fire, which is resisting control “due to heavy brush and dead woody materials with critical live fuel moisture,” according to an incident update. Aircraft are supporting crews on the ground.
Although California is going through one of the worst droughts in its history, it lightly rained Friday morning, which helped firefighters in their efforts to contain the Willow Fire, according to KFSN-TV in Fresno.
Meanwhile, a NASA study found California has an accumulated deficit in rainfall of about 20 inches since 2012. This means that since then “the difference between actual rainfall in the state and the rainfall expected on average is now equivalent to a whole year’s worth of precipitation.”