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Emergency Response Teams Spread Thin as Ida Tracks North, Fires Rage in the West

08-31-2021
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Homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Lafitte, La. The weather died down shortly before dawn. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Lafitte, La. The weather died down shortly before dawn. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The aftermath of Hurricane Ida is coming into focus as the storm, now a tropical depression heads north. 

Four people are confirmed dead and many more are still missing in an ongoing search and rescue effort. In Louisiana, hopes are being realized as the search for life has led to nearly 800 water rescues. 

"We've been in our emergency operations center, I slept here and will continue to sleep here," said Jaclyn Hotard, president of St. John the Baptist Parish. "My home is flooded. I lost my car." 

Many people remain unaccounted for as towns sit in the heat of summer without power. Millions of people are cut off from communication without cell phone service. And electricity could remain out for as long as a month.

Louisiana's governor is telling evacuees, "Do Not Return" as the outages endure. 

As Ida tracks north, the forecast is calling for flash floods and tornado warnings, which now threaten much of the eastern United States until next week. 

The storm could dump rain over Tennessee's Humphreys County, where just last week, 22 people died after record rainfall and flash floods. 

Emergency personnel there tell CBN News that they're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. 

The death toll accounts for two people killed in Louisiana and two more in George County, Mississippi after a highway collapsed. A dozen more motorists that were trapped in the roadway were injured. 

In the south, heat-related illnesses are an added threat. Many don't have access to clean water and some don't have any water at all.

Meanwhile, catastrophic fires swept the Western plains and the Rocky Mountains. Critical winds and drought conditions are causing wildfires to stay ablaze with 19 fires currently raging in California. 

The Dixie Fire is still burning roughly 90 days after it started, with only 50 percent of it contained. 

The Caldor fire recently took the spotlight as it burns closer to populated towns in Lake Tahoe. Tourists are evacuating south of the Lake. 

Flames have torched nearly 200,000 acres, destroying more than 650 structures, and are only 15 percent contained. 

"We have fire spotting, torching, and very dry fuels under these drought conditions," said Captain Brian Newman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The U.S. Forest Service said wildfires are so widespread, that all National Forests there will be closed until September 17th. 

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