Dramatic footage, shot Wednesday morning in SoCal, shows a horse heading back into a fire on a rescue mission to find his family.
The Golden State is on fire again with at least twelve active wildfires around California. While the largest blaze is the 76,000-acre Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, there are at least seven fires burning in the greater Los Angeles area, including the Hill Fire near Riverside and the Easy Fire outside Simi Valley that sparked to life on Wednesday.
The Easy Fire has quickly grown in size to over 1,300 acres, driven by near hurricane force Santa Ana wind gusts of 74 miles per hour.
The fire was burning in an area home to a number of ranches, leading to a scramble to save horses and other livestock from the flames. In one dramatic example, CBS News cameras caught one horse appearing to run back towards the fire in order to connect with its family and lead them to safety.
The video has been fast to whip around social media, spreading even quicker than the fire itself.
Dry fall conditions and strong winds are providing wildfires with ample opportunity to spark and spread. Just in the time that I’ve been writing this story, another fire dubbed the Yosemite Fire has flared up along a highway overpass not far from the Easy Fire.
A study published earlier this year in the journal Earth’s Future looked at the link between California’s increasing wildfire problem and climate change. As has been said ad nauseam, no single event can be blamed entirely on changes to the background climate. California’s notorious winds have made fires a challenge as long have humans have lived there.
But the researchers say higher temperatures do help create more fuel for the fires.
“In fall, wind events and delayed onset of winter precipitation are the dominant promoters of wildfire,” the study reads. “While these variables did not change much over the past century, background warming and consequent fuel drying is increasingly enhancing the potential for large fall wildfires.”
The National Weather Service forecasts that the winds should ease just a bit Wednesday afternoon and evening before picking up again overnight and into Halloween.
Hundreds of thousands of Californians have come under voluntary evacuation orders so far, and that tally looks likely to continue to increase.