News / USA

Southern California Coast Wildfire Threatens 4,000 Homes

A brush fire burns at a shooting range on the beach at Navel Base Ventura County May 3, 2013
A brush fire burns at a shooting range on the beach at Navel Base Ventura County May 3, 2013
Reuters
— A fierce, wind-whipped brush fire grew along the California coast northwest of Los Angeles on Friday, threatening thousands of homes and a military base as about 200 dwellings were evacuated and a university campus closed.
       
A force of more than 900 firefighters had managed by daybreak to carve containment lines around about 10 percent of the perimeter of the inferno, which has scorched some 4,047 hectares of dry, dense brush and chaparral since erupting on Thursday morning.
       
Several farm buildings and recreational vehicles were engulfed, and fire officials said 15 homes were damaged, though no residential structures were lost and no injuries have been reported, authorities said.
       
While the extent of evacuations was scaled back on Friday, some 4,000 homes were considered to be under threat, the Ventura County Fire Department said.
       
The so-called Springs Fire and a flurry of smaller blazes around the state this week marked an abrupt start to a California fire season that weather forecasters predict will be worsened by a summer of high temperatures and drought throughout much of the U.S. West.
       
"We're seeing fires burning like we usually see in late summer, at the height of the fire season, and it's only May,'' Ventura County fire department spokesman Tom Crush told Reuters.
       
Strong, erratic winds that complicated efforts to combat the Springs Fire through much of the first day abated somewhat Friday morning but seemed to be picking up again, Crush said.
       
In the meantime, wind conditions had improved enough to allow several planes equipped for dumping payloads of fire-retardant chemicals to return to the air at dawn along with a fleet of six water-dropping helicopters, he said.

Stretch of Pacific coast highway closed

The blaze broke out at about 1330 GMT on Thursday beside the U.S. 101 freeway, less than 16 kms north of the Pacific coast, and quickly spread to the fringes of the communities of Camarillo and Newbury Park.
       
By Friday morning, flames had advanced to within a short distance of the ocean's edge in some places, forcing authorities to close several miles of Pacific Coast Highway.
       
At the Point Mugu U.S. Naval Air Station on the coast, all non-essential personnel were ordered to stay home for a second day as flames encroached on a firing range at the extreme western end of the base, spokeswoman Kimberly Gearhart said. She said no ammunition is stored at that facility.
       
Thick smoke that obscured visibility over the base on Thursday had largely dissipated with shifting winds, she said, adding aircraft were continuing to shuttle personnel between the base and a communications station on San Nicholas Island offshore.
       
Evacuations for two residential subdivisions at the northern end of the fire zone near Camarillo have been lifted but remained restricted to residents carrying identification, sheriff's Sergeant Eric Buschow said.
       
Some 200 homes along the coastal highway and canyon roads leading up into the foothills north from the highway remained evacuated, he said.

California State University at Channel Islands campus, including student housing, was closed for a second day, the university said in a website posting, though official evacuation orders for the school were lifted.
       
A smaller blaze east of Los Angeles in Riverside County on Thursday destroyed two houses and damaged two others before firefighters halted its spread, and at least five additional wildfires burned in northern California.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid