The area has been protected from fire for decades, primed for the type of catastrophic blaze California officials have been predicting.
"We've got miles and miles of contiguous chaparral vegetation and literally there are no breaks in the vegetation," Giusti said. "It's extremely steep and, in many cases, it's a roadless area."
Four years of drought has left the vegetation bone dry.
'When these fires get to an intensity we've seen, because of the fuel loading, because of fire suppression for the last 50 or 60 years, it allows the plant communities to get so dense, so thick and so expansive that, once a fire starts, it's beyond the capabilities of human control," Guisti said.