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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More