California Wildfire Burns Almost 1,000 Acres, Crews Increase Containment To 35%

This post first appeared on Daily Wire on . You can read the original article here.

A wildfire in Southern California has burned almost 1,000 acres, but early Tuesday afternoon, conditions appeared more favorable for firefighters, and crews had reached 35% containment. 

Known as the Sheep fire, the blaze started on Saturday and quickly spread over dry land as first responders contended with a heat wave. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told The New York Times the fire had been “especially challenging due to dense vegetation, steep terrain, and high and erratic winds.”

Evacuation orders for a main area of Wrightwood, about 77 miles northeast of Los Angeles, were in place on Tuesday morning. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, officials said, “evacuation orders and warnings would likely be revised Tuesday afternoon.”  Around 4,500 people live in Wrightwood, which sits at 6,000 feet of elevation.

The fire comes after Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation in May, making the first week of the month in 2022 “Wildfire Preparedness Week.” 

“Building on our past budget investments, I’m proposing an additional $1.2 billion this year as part of a total $2.7 billion multi-year investment to step up forest management and other projects that decrease catastrophic wildfire risk,” Newsom stated.

The governor added that they are also creating stronger funding for firefighting materials and equipment. He also touched on another topic that has been controversial in the past — that of controlled burning or prescribed fires. 

The use of controlled burning in forests is meant to cut down on the amount of overgrowth that can easily catch fire and result in an uncontrollable spread. It also helps “restore health to ecosystems that depend on fire,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

In March, Newsom’s task force created a strategy “for state, federal, and tribal partners to promote use of ‘beneficial fire’ on up to 400,000 acres annually by 2025 to help make forests more resilient.” The move is part of a broader plan to work on 1 million acres each year in California by 2025. In 2021, California put $1.5 billion towards “wildfire resilience,” which included “prescribed fire and cultural burning.”

The California Policy Center reported in 2020 that the environmental pushback against “timber harvesting, underbrush removal, and controlled burns,” as well as the suppression of natural fires led to disastrous wildfire conditions in California.

An intense heat wave has impacted much of the United States, with the high temperatures expected to continue through mid-week from the midwestern states to the southeast. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 70 million people were under heat advisories across the country. Almost 48 million people were under an excessive heat warning, according to the National Weather Service.