Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Thousands flee California wild fires

by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (AFP) Oct 21, 2007
Firefighters battled into the night Monday to tame wildfires in California that sparked mass evacuations, drove Hollywood stars from their million-dollar homes and killed one person, authorities said.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in seven of California's southern counties late Sunday as firefighters battled the blazes, which started early that morning and burned all day, fanned by strong winds.

"Throughout the region more than 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) have already burned and more areas are threatened. The wildfires have caused the loss of human life and serious injuries," his office said in a statement.

One person was killed and four firefighters were seriously injured while trying to protect a home from fire in Potrero, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of San Diego, the fire department said.

At least another 13 people were injured elsewhere as at least 11 separate fires, according to reports, devoured tree-lined hillsides and filled the area with choking black smoke.

"They have burned a number of homes, businesses and other structures. Residents have been evacuated in dangerous areas," the governor's statement said.

Authorities ordered 36,000 residents of Ramona, 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of San Diego, to evacuate as the flames approached the town, said a spokesman for the local sheriff's office.

Strong winds fed the flames which destroyed a church and other buildings, forcing thousands to evacuate, including entire neighborhoods in the exclusive seaside town of Malibu.

Homes of director James Cameron and "Grease" movie star Olivia Newton-John were among those evacuated, celebrity site reported.

The palm-lined town, around 30 kilometers west of Los Angeles, is home to celebrities including Sting, Mel Gibson, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Cher and Richard Gere.

"There's no clear direction of the fire. You're getting erratic winds and swirls," fire inspector Ron Haralson told CNN news on Sunday evening.

"We're getting gusts up to 60 miles (100 kilometers) an hour ... They die down for a little bit. But then we're getting spot fires, fires that start well ahead of the main body of the fire, embers landing on rooftops and trees."

He said the fires may have been caused by wind knocking over a power line.

Thousands of students at Pepperdine University were evacuated. Nearby, the Malibu Presbyterian Church and several private homes burned to the ground, and the coastal highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco was closed.

"I woke up around 5:30 this morning and had smelled smoke and I saw some lights on Malibu Canyon Road," Malibu resident David Masi told NBC4 television. "I kept smelling it and the smoke kept getting more and more pervasive."

The blaze also destroyed much of the Malibu Castle, known as Castle Kashan, a hilltop landmark built in 1978 and put up for sale in March for 17 million dollars.

Southern California has been on "red alert" over the weekend due to the high winds, temperatures of near 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) and dry conditions.

Haralson said late Sunday the blazes were not contained and firefighters would battle them through the night. Some 1,500 firefighters were deployed and helicopters were dumping water on the blazing ground.

"We have a lot of resources that are assisting and they're all being utilized at this moment," he told the television station Channel 2.

Schwarzenegger's office said the emergency proclamation allows the state Office of Emergency Services to deploy emergency personnel and equipment and provide local government assistance.

Officials warned the fires may continue for several days while the high winds keep up.

"This fire's been very erratic and it has moved rapidly when it has moved with the winds," Los Angeles county fire chief Michael Freeman told reporters.

"The fact that it's kind of come down below the ridge line up there has given us an opportunity to really work hard on it. But this fire is not over. It's not over until it's over and we're a long way from there."

Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Forest and Wild Fires - News, Science and Technology

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Protestors condemn govt over Greek fires
Athens (AFP) Sept 4, 2007
More than a thousand people demonstrated in Athens Tuesday against the government's management of Greece's deadly forest fires, hours after firefighters scrambled to put out the latest outbreak.

  • Satellites Help Save Lives
  • Vietnam villagers face hunger amid floods
  • 3,000 evacuated after China landslide blocks river
  • ORNL Resilience Plan To Help Tennessee, Mississippi And South Carolina Communities Beat Disaster

  • Environment ministers to meet in Indonesia
  • Tiny Pacific islands say climate change threatens survival
  • Asking The Wrong Questions On Global Warming
  • Heaps Of Climate Gas - Pasturing Cows Convert Soil To A Source Of Methane

  • Key Found To Moonlight Romance
  • GeoEye Contract With ITT Begins Phased Procurement Of The GeoEye-2 Satellite
  • ITT Sensors Aboard DigitalGlobe's WorldView-1 Satellite Capture First High-Res Images
  • Successful Image Taking By The High Definition Television

  • Seminole Adds 22 MW Of Renewable Capacity To Its Florida Portfolio
  • China rejects Japanese blame over East China Sea talks
  • 100 years later, laundry may be easier but have we saved any time?
  • Control Of Oil Reserves Among Iraq War Goals - Putin

  • After extinction fears, Botswana learns to live with AIDS
  • West Nile Virus Spread Through Nerve Cells Linked To Serious Complication
  • New Model Predicts More Virulent Microbes
  • China denies cover-up of pig disease

  • Researchers Studying How Singing Bats Communicate
  • Small-scale fishing threatens sea turtles
  • Symposium Marks 30th anniversary Of Discovery Of Third Domain Of Life
  • UD Plant Biologists Uncover Top Wetland Invader's Hidden Weapon

  • Analysis: Olympics and Beijing pollution
  • Scientists Estimate Mercury Emissions From US Fires
  • Fantastic Plastic Could Cut CO2 Emissions And Purify Water
  • Pollution 'matter of life or death': HK leader

  • Neandertals And Humans Share Key Changes To Language Gene
  • Genetic Ancestral Testing Cannot Deliver On Its Promise
  • Family trees flourish on the Internet
  • Consortium Publishes Phase 2 Map Of Human Genetic Variation

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement