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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid