California Gov. Jerry Brown says deadly and destructive wildfires in winter are "the new normal." Brown on Saturday toured Ventura County neighborhoods ravaged by a weeklong wildfire that killed at least one person and destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings. At a news conference, Brown said drought and climate change mean California faces a "new reality" where lives and property are continually threatened by fire, at a cost of billions of dollars, the AP reports. He added that gusty winds and low humidity are continuing and warned that there's a good chance of seeing "firefighting at Christmas." He said it will take "heroic" efforts in the U.S. and abroad to stem climate change and urged U.S. lawmakers to pay more attention to dealing with natural disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes.
Authorities say they've counted some 800 homes and other buildings destroyed by wildfires ravaging Southern California for the past week. Six fires driven by gusty Santa Ana winds have torched neighborhoods and rural communities from Ventura County north of Los Angeles all the way south to San Diego County. One person died in a car crash Wednesday trying to escape the largest fire in Ventura County. The fire also is burning toward a sanctuary for the endangered California condors in Los Padres National Forest.
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