Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

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

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Four more years will be enough to cement in place Trump's anti-environmental policies and to make sure it's too late to really change course. Enrique Meseguer / Pixabay

By Bill McKibben

To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A woman marks down her vote on a ballot for the Democratic presidential primary election at a polling place on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Herndon, Virginia. Samuel Corum / Getty Images

By Oliver Milman

The climate crisis is set to be a significant factor in a U.S. presidential election for the first time, with new polling showing a clear majority of American voters want decisive action to deal with the threats posed by global heating.

Read More Show Less
A black bear cub climbs a tree at Tongass National Forest in Alaska. sarkophoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

America's largest national forest, Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be opened up to logging and road construction after the Trump administration finalizes its plans to open up the forest on Friday, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg protests in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on September 25, 2020. Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images

By Ruby Russell and Ajit Niranjan

Hamstrung by coronavirus lockdowns, frustrated school strikers have spent months staging digital protests against world leaders failing to act urgently on climate change.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch