California’s Thomas Fire, which started in Ventura County and is now moving through Santa Barbara County, has hit a massive 234,000 acres in size. The fires have destroyed an area larger than New York City and Boston combined, and only 20% has been contained so far.
More than $48 million has already gone towards fighting the fires, according to Ventura County, however that number is expected to increase. With 1,000 structures destroyed, 85,000 power outages, and 98,000 evacuees, California residents are not the only ones who are going to be affected by the fires.
“The best way that I can describe it to you is that it’s like being in a giant ash tray. There’s just so much ash on everything,” says Suzanne Dean, Vice President of Tea Tree Therapy.
Tea Tree Therapy is located in Ventura, CA, and had to close its office and manufacturing facilities three times. Dean has had to buy proper breathing apparatuses for herself and her co-workers due to the terrible quality of the air.
Consumers all over the U.S. will be affected by the wildfires. Dean explains it has been very difficult for the delivery trucks to make their stops. Many truck companies have ceased making deliveries altogether because they need to keep their employees’ best interest in mind.
“You wonder how it can keep going,” she says.
Other companies have had to shut down their offices as well. On December 5, Earth Science Naturals posted on its Facebook page that the company will remain closed due to the Thomas Fire until further notice, adding that orders can still be made via their website, but consumers should expect shipping delays. They also shared a picture of the nearby Rincon Point awash in an orange glow on an “otherwise clear, blue morning.”
Vitamin Angels’ Santa Barbara offices have been closed since Monday, and 90% of their staff has been working from home. Media and Events Coordinator Natalie Hernandez says they are still trying to do business as usual in order to help the mothers and babies in need.
Derma E in Ventura County was also in the line of the fire and had to close for awhile.
Bragg Live Foods a little farther north in Santa Barbara, CA, has conitnued business as usual during the Thomas Fire, Heather Cass, marketing and advertising coordinator, told WholeFoods. Orders made through the phone line might have FedEx and UPS delivery delays but distributors are still making deliveries.
“Our office in Santa Barbara remains open at this time although air quality is very poor so you will see people driving to work with air masks on and continuing to wear them outdoors probably for the rest of December,” Cass added. “We are all keeping all those affected by the fires around us in prayer and are tremendously appreciative of all the firefighters doing their best to gain control of the Thomas Fire and the current fires in California.
It will be a while before farmers can assess how much of their crops were lost in the fires. They will have to repair the damaged irrigation systems and, in the winter, be sure to keep track of hillsides which are now bereaved of trees in case of mudslides. And while replacing damaged trees is not a difficult job, it can take as many as five years before the trees start bearing fruit, John Krist, CEO of the Ventura County Farm Bureau, told the Huffington Post.
Northern California was also under evacuation after a house fire spread so surrounding homes. Those fires began Dec. 11. Fortunately, fire officials told the Washington Post that crews have surrounded most of the blazes. A cause investigation is currently underway, and there are no reports of injuries at this time.
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