The fact that Southern California is on fire is global news. The New York Times has run on it as a main story for weeks now and it seems unstoppable. Suddenly, news about the latest investment asset or fund on Wall Street is taking second place. Even the big investors from NYC and Rockwood, such as Dan Purjes, McTague, and Barrons, have taken second place. It is now all about the final list of wild fires and were things will go.
Dan Purjes on the California Wildfires
So far, one of the biggest and fastest moving wildfires to have hit Southern California yet, has led to the evacuation of some 21,000 people. The evacuation was mandatory as the “Holy Fire”, as it has been named, started to roll towards Orange County’s Lake Elsinore homes. The Holy Fire is not the only fire raging right now and some 19,000 acres to the north of San Diego are now forests no more.
It is believed that the Holy Fire was started by an individual, who is now facing arson charges. The man, Forrest Clark, behaved erratically in court, according to reports. His case was adjourned with a $1 million bail set and will be heard again on August 17th. Reportedly, Forrest Clark stated that a million dollars was easy for him to handle.
The previous week, Mr. Clark had been arrested but not until after he had a standoff with the police. It is believed that Mr. Clark has had a decade-long running dispute with one of his neighbors and that he started the fire as a result. Indeed, it is alleged that he had emailed the fire chief, a local volunteer, to state that he would do so.
Meanwhile, Dan Purjes is also very concerned about the impact of the gusty winds, the high temperatures, and the dryness of the local vegetation, all of which have made the fires worse. Additionally, crews have struggled to tackle the Holy Fire because of the inaccessible terrain. With thunderstorms now forecast, it is possible that the Holy Fire, as well as other wildfires, will behave even more extremely.
The fires are having reverberations all over the country. Smoke has reduced the air quality across the country, including central Canada, the northern Rockies, western Canada, the northern Plains. Additionally, some 600 firefighters are trying to contain the Holy Fire, not even looking at the 18 or so other fires. The Mendocino Complex fire has already been named as the largest in the history of the state, engulfing 290,692 acres and it is likely to continue to burn for much longer. Similarly, the Carr Fire, to the north, is responsible for the death of at least seven people and 1,500 structures are destroyed. 14,000 firefighters are working on the wildfires in total across the state, working together with the U.S. Army and even with over 1,000 low risk offenders from prison. They are volunteers but do get paid $2 per day and $1 per hour. Even New Zealand and Australia are playing a part, sending expert firefighters who know wildfires to help.