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Northern Channel Islands South of Santa Barbara, California – October 22nd, 2009

34.4N 119.6W

October 22nd, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Snapshots

California, USA - September 24th, 2009

California, USA - September 24th, 2009

The Channel Islands of California are a chain of eight islands located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California along the Santa Barbara Channel in the United States of America.

Four of the eight islands can be seen south of the city of Santa Barbara in this orthorectified image (from left to right): San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa. The Channel Islands are actually divided into two groups; these four islands belong to the Northern group. The four Northern Islands used to be a single landmass known as Santa Rosae.

Also, along with Santa Barbara, the Northern Channel Islands are part of the Channel Islands National Park, created in 1980. The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary encompasses the waters six nautical miles (11 kilometers) offshore.

California Wildfires Force More Evacuations, Air-Quality Alert

36.7N 119.4W

August 30th, 2009 Category: Fires

California Wildfires, USA - August 29th, 2009

California Wildfires, USA - August 29th, 2009

California - August 29th, 2009

California - August 29th, 2009

Fire Map

Fire Map

Three separate fires burning in Los Angeles County have forced the evacuation of another 150 homes, the county said, and officials issued an air-quality alert because of smoke from the fires.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Monterey counties because of the blazes.

The Station fire, which has consumed 5,500 acres (2,225 hectares) since it began three days ago in the Angeles National Forest near La Canada Flintridge, is only 5 percent contained, said Randi Jorgensen, a fire information officer who used to work for the U.S. Forest Service. About 870 homes already had been evacuated in that area, she said.

Firefighters aren’t likely to see much improvement in the weather today or tomorrow because of a high-pressure system that is preventing the flow of cooler, moist air from the ocean, said Mike Pigott, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.com in State College, Pennsylvania.

“There really isn’t going to be very much relief,” Pigott said. Temperatures are likely to range between 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) at the beaches to as hot as 106 degrees in some of the inland valleys near Los Angeles, he said. The other large fire is the Morris blaze, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Azusa, Jorgensen said. It has scorched 2,168 acres, as of 7 a.m. local time, and cost $4.5 million to fight, she said.

The National Weather Service office in Los Angeles/Oxnard, California, issued a red flag warning today until 9 p.m. local time for the mountains and foothills of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. That means widespread low humidity and hot temperatures could result in dangerous fire conditions.

In Monterey County, fire crews have completely controlled the Bryson blaze, which charred 3,383 acres since Aug. 26. The Gloria blaze in San Benito County, east of Gonzales, California, has burned 6,000 acres, up from 2,500 acres yesterday. It is 60 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Web site.

California has more than 5,200 firefighters battling eight major blazes across the state that have scorched more than 21,000 acres, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. Pigott said firefighters there will be aided by more moisture coming off the ocean that will cool temperatures to the low to mid-80s Fahrenheit tomorrow from mid-90s today.

California Fires Threaten Homes, Force Evacuations in Two Areas

36.7N 119.4W

August 14th, 2009 Category: Fires

Fires in California, Hurricane Guillermo south of Baja California, USA - August 13rd, 2009

Fires in California, Hurricane Guillermo south of Baja California, USA - August 13rd, 2009

Fires, Northwest of Los Angeles

Fires, Northwest of Los Angeles

Fires, Northwest of Los Angeles

Fires, Northwest of Los Angeles

Fires, South of San Francisco

Fires, South of San Francisco

Two California wildfires, one south of San Francisco and the other northwest of Los Angeles, burned across 51,000 acres today and threatened more than 1,250 homes, authorities said.

Officials ordered 2,400 residents in Swanton and Bonny Doon, 70 miles (113 kilometers) from San Francisco, to flee the fire, which has consumed 2,800 acres (1,120 hectares) and is raging out of control, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

At the same time, some 1,900 firefighters are battling a blaze that has burned at least 48,457 acres in the Los Padres National Forest area of Santa Barbara County, said the state agency, known as Cal Fire.

The Southern California blaze, called the La Brea fire, threatens 21 homes and nine other buildings about 140 miles northwest of Los Angeles, according to the state agency. Steep terrain and isolated locations are making both fires harder to fight, according to authorities.

Residents of about 150 homes and ranches were ordered to evacuate in the face of the advancing La Brea blaze, which began last weekend in a remote section of the forest, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Web site.

The fire has been “very active” in the past 12 hours, expanding by 10,000 acres, the Los Padres National Forest Service said on its Web site yesterday evening local time. Firefighters are using bulldozers, helicopters and planes. The Los Padres National Forest stretches across nearly 2 million acres from the Big Sur Coast in Monterey County to the western edge of Los Angeles. In May, the Jesusita fire in Santa Barbara forced the evacuation of thousands of people before it was contained.

Temperatures in the area are expected to reach 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius) today with winds from the west-northwest at about 15 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures in the area of the Bonny Doon fire may reach 80, the weather service said. An air quality alert because of smoke was issued by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

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