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Santa Barbara Wildfire Burns 3,000 Acres in Five Hours, Forces 6,300 to Flee
The so-called Cave Fire ignited shortly after 4 p.m. near Highway 154 and grew to at least 3,122 acres by 9 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported. It is zero percent contained, threatens 2,400 structures and has forced 6,300 people to evacuate, according to the KEYT News Team.
"The Cave Fire is causing conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the County of Santa Barbara," the emergency proclamation said.
The evacuation order covered a five-mile-wide stretch of land, according to the Los Angeles Times. The fire became more dangerous as it moved downhill, driven by canyon winds of 15 miles per hour and 30 mile-per-hour gusts.
"As this fire gets pushed down canyon, it's going to start getting closer to homes," Santa Barbara County Fire (SBCF) Department public information officer Mike Eliason told the Los Angeles Times.
Santa Barbara also requested that California Gov. Gavin Newsom declare a State of Emergency. The county received fire-fighting support from nearby Ventura County, which said it was sending two strike teams of engines, and from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which battled the flames from a Firehawk water-dropping helicopter, NBC 7 San Diego reported. As of 9:25 p.m., more than 500 firefighters were combating the blaze, according to KSBY News.
SBCF Capt. Daniel Bertucelli told the Los Angeles Times that he did not yet know if any homes had been destroyed.
"We're going to fight fire throughout the night, and tomorrow when the sun comes up, we'll get a better understanding of what sort of damage we have," he said.
It is possible that one structure on Old San Marcos Road caught fire, according to KEYT.
The fire comes almost 30 years after the destructive Painted Cave Fire burned 5,000 acres in the same mountains, NBC 7 San Diego reported, taking one life and damaging 427 homes. The old brush in the area had not burned since then, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Wildfire risk in California has increased because of the climate crisis: 15 of the state's 20 largest fires post-1930 have occurred since 2000, as temperatures rise and snow melts earlier in the Western U.S., leading to dryer conditions.
"What we're seeing in California right now is more destructive, larger fires burning at rates that we have historically never seen," Assistant Chief with San Mateo County Fire Department Jonathan Cox said, according to a climate change fact sheet prepared by the Event Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.
Formosa Plant May Still Be Releasing Plastic Pollution in Texas After $50M Settlement, Activists Find
On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.
After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.
Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.