Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Strong Winds Spark More Than a Dozen LA-Area Wildfires, Including a Blaze Near Reagan Presidential Library

Climate
The Easy Fire threatens the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California Wednesday. MARK RALSTON / AFP via Getty Images

More than a dozen wildfires ignited around Los Angeles Wednesday as strong Santa Ana winds prompted the National Weather Service to issue "extreme red flag warnings" for Los Angeles and Ventura counties, BBC News reported.


"I don't know if I've ever seen us use this warning," forecaster Marc Chenard said.

The new fires come as California has been battling wind-driven blazes and enduring preventative power outages for about a week. While wildfires are natural in the state, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the fire season has gotten longer because of the climate crisis.

One of Wednesday's fires, the Easy Fire, tripled in three hours and threatened the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. It was driven by almost hurricane-force gusts of more than 74 miles per hour, according to BBC News.

That fire sparked in Simi Valley at around 6 a.m. and spread to at least 1,648 acres, ABC 7 reported. It threatened 6,500 homes and destroyed one structure, prompting evacuation orders for around 30,000 people.

Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said that firefighters were making progress, but that the fight was not over yet.

"We still are not through this," he said at a 6 p.m Wednesday update reported by ABC 7. "We have another 24 hours of significant weather conditions and a lot of threat. Please stay aware, stay tuned and always be ready with a plan."

At one point Wednesday, the blaze menaced the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, surrounding the 1,300 acre complex, CNN reported. John Heubusch, the library's executive director, said a fire had never come so close before.

"The flames are licking right up the hills, right up to the parking lot," he told CNN-affiliate KLTA. "I think the parking lot will save the library."

Firefighters dropped liquid from the air and fought the fire from the ground, but they also had an unlikely ally: goats. A herd of up to 500 ate vegetation that otherwise would have fueled the fire.

"One of the firefighters mentioned that they do believe the goats' fire line helped them fight this fire," library spokeswoman Melissa Giller said, as CNN reported. "They just proved today how useful they really are."

The Easy Fire wasn't the only blaze to erupt Wednesday, according to The Guardian.

The Hill Fire broke out in Riverside County around 11 a.m. and another fire ignited near Fullerton in Orange County.

The Getty Fire, which ignited Monday, has burned 745 acres and destroyed 12 structures. It is now 27 percent contained.

Meanwhile, in Northern California, firefighters finally began to make progress on the Kincade Fire, which has burned through 76,825 acres and forced nearly 200,000 people to evacuate, BBC News reported. However, the Sonoma County Sheriff has finally lifted the evacuation order for much of the area, according to The Guardian, and the fire is now 30 percent contained.

Meanwhile, utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) began restoring power after two blackouts Saturday and Tuesday initiated in an attempt to prevent fires, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The utility said calmer-than-expected winds Wednesday meant it could begin restoring power everywhere except for Kern County. As of Wednesday evening, around 64,000 customers remained without power.

"Thank you for your patience, for your understanding," PG&E Corp. CEO Bill Johnson said at an evening press conference reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. "Let's all hope we can get back to normal soon, and stay that way for a long while."

Correction: An earlier version of this article said that the Getty Fire ignited Tuesday. It has been corrected to reflect that fact that it ignited Monday.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pie Ranch in San Mateo, California, is a highly diverse farm that has both organic and food justice certification. Katie Greaney

By Elizabeth Henderson

Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced:

Read More Show Less
A woman walks to her train in Grand Central Terminal as New York City attempts to slow down the spread of coronavirus through social distancing on March 27. John Lamparski / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
polaristest / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Spinach is a true nutritional powerhouse, as it's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Jeff Turrentine

From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.

Read More Show Less