13 killed in Louisiana floods, California fires menace 82,000 people
Contaminated floodwaters impact a neighborhood as seen in an aerial view in Sorrento, Louisiana, U.S. August 17, 2016. REUTERS photoThe death toll from the recent storms and flooding in south Louisiana has risen to 13, while fires threaten the homes of more than 82,000 people in southern California.
The flooding that struck the Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas in Louisiana left at least 13 people dead. Devin George, state registrar for vital records, said an elderly woman in Livingston Parish was confirmed Aug. 17 as the latest death, the Associated Press reported.
More than 30,000 have been rescued, and at least 70,000 have registered for federal disaster assistance. At the height, 11,000 people were in shelters, though that figured dropped to 6,000 by Aug. 17.
Meanwhile, weary firefighters Aug. 18 battled a raging inferno that was threatening the homes of more than 82,000 people in southern California and sent flaming “firenadoes” tearing across the brush.
Nearly 1,600 firefighters were fighting the giant blaze, but had only contained four percent of it, according to a fire service official.
Dramatic local TV news footage captured from the front line of the wildfire in the town of Phelan showed tornado-like flaming vortexes - known as “firenadoes” - sent spinning into the air by the ferocity of the blaze.
“We have very, very dry brush - thick fuel - it helps move the fire along very quickly,” Lynne Tolmachoff, spokeswoman for the state firefighting agency Cal Fire, told AFP.
“It is very dangerous to the public and also to the firefighters.”
More than 34,500 homes were threatened and 82,640 people were under evacuation warnings.