While Louisiana is drying out from its epic flooding, California firefighters are valiantly battling massive wildfires that have erupted throughout the state over the past week.

Here are some of the fires now raging in California:

  • Blue Cut fire: 30,000 acres near the 15 Freeway in Cajon Pass; began Tuesday. 0% contained.
  • Clayton fire: 4,000 acres and 175 structures burned near Clear Lake; 40% contained (as of Wednesday morning); began Saturday.
  • Chimney fire: 7,300 acres and 40 structures destroyed in San Luis Obispo County; 25% contained (as of Wednesday morning); began Saturday.

This is in addition to Soberanes Fire near Big Sur that has closed lanes on a portion of state Highway 1 in Monterey County, blackened over 76,000 acres, damaged or destroyed over 30 homes, and is weeks from full containment. Now, reports are just coming in about another blaze that has forced evacuations about 20 minutes from where I live in San Diego.

This map from CalFire sums up the 10 wildfires that are spread throughout the length and breadth of my home state.

Of all of these conflagrations, the one to watch is the Blue Cut fire, which has closed the El Cajon Pass (a major transportation route between Southern California and Las Vegas).

The Blue Cut fire has been deemed “monstrous.” Over 80,000 Californians have been warned to evacuate, and it has alraedy caused the complete destruction of the beloved, historic Summit Inn.

After opening in 1952, the diner — outfitted with red leather booths and walls adorned with memorabilia — became a familiar spot for those traveling to and from the High Desert.

The Summit Inn, which recently changed ownership, had touted its celebrity clientele, including Pierce Brosnan, Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley.

The cause of the Blue Cut fire is unknown, but an accidental origin is suspected.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but most wildfires in Southern California are caused by people, accidentally or intentionally. According to Caltrans, an average of 156,000 vehicles a day pass the Kenwood Avenue area — a endless source of sparking tail pipes, engine fires and discarded cigarette butts.

….“It’s not how we fight the fires. It’s how do we stop them from starting in the first place,” argued [Director of the California Chaparral Institute Richard] Halsey, who thinks Caltrans should consider placing concrete k-rail barriers along the freeway in the pass to stop sparks from flying into roadside vegetation.

However, the Clayton Fire apparently is the work of a serial arsonist.

A suspected serial arsonist who also worked as an inmate firefighter for four months in 2007 following a methamphetamine and gun conviction kept his face hidden during an arraignment Wednesday, and tried to run out of court once the proceedings ended.

Damon Anthony Pashilk, 40, of Clearlake appeared in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Andrew Blum, but allegedly passed out before the 1:15 session.

…Lake County Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff told NBC Bay Area that Pashilk will be charged with arson regarding the Clayton Fire with a special enhancement because the area was still under a state of emergency from last year’s Valley Fire. He will be charged with arson for starting 12 fires — one of which burned a couple of acres and an uninhabited mobile home — and attempting to start one more, he said.

The cause of the Chimney Fire is still unknown at this time. The Soberanes Fires was caused by an illegal campfire:

The illegal, 2-foot by 2-foot campfire was left unattended just off the Soberanes Canyon Trail, Cal Fire said at a Tuesday press conference.

Whoever lit the campfire came to a fork in the trail and followed the path that leads into a thick redwood forest — not up the steep ridge trail that goes up the mountain — about 2 1/4 miles east from Highway 1, Blue said. The person built the campfire at a scenic spot where Soberanes Creek intersects with another creek and forms a waterfall.

The Big Sur area, which was hit by the Soberanes Fire, is one of the state’s natural treasures. It is heartbreaking to see the ruin of so much natural beauty, iconic buildings, family residences and essential businesses.

A big thanks to all our state’s firefighters, 10,00 of whom are trying to contain and control these blazes. It look one long, not summer for our heroes.

(Featured image via Twitter).