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Wildfires Continue to Blaze Throughout California

37.7N 122.4W

August 17th, 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

Fire in Oregon

Fire in Oregon

Fire south of San Francisco

Fire south of San Francisco

Fire northwest of Los Angeles

Fire northwest of Los Angeles

Over the weekend, gusty winds hampered efforts to put out several wildfires raging across California, authorities said on Saturday. Various fires can be seen in the main image, the most notable of which are found south of San Francisco and northwest of Los Angeles. A long plume of smoke can also be seen further north, in the state of Oregon.

Firefighters were working against time to contain the fires, including a wind-driven blaze in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Central California that was threatening several towns and forced thousands to evacuate, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDFFP) said.

The greatest danger is posed by the blaze burning north of Santa Cruz, which has destroyed two structures and consumed more than 2,800 acres (about 1,134 hectares), said the department.
Driven by heavy winds, the blaze is threatening the towns of Swanton, Davenport and Bonny Doon, and hand crews have experienced trouble reaching the fire lines. As a result, the fire is mostly being fought by air, the department said.

A second large fire roaring through Los Padres National Forest about 41 kilometers east of Santa Maria has grown, forcing some residents to flee. About 1,600 firefighters are attacking the blaze, which started last Saturday. The cause is unknown.
In the Santa Barbara County, Northern California, a fire has grown to 67,092 acres (about 27,172 hectares) and is 10-percent contained. The area’s rugged terrain and limited access were making it difficult for the hundreds of firefighters on the scene to battle the blaze, firefighters said.
Elswhere in Northern California, several smaller fires were still raging, but a fire in Trinity County was expected to be contained Saturday.

Most of the fires were started by lightning, according to initial investigations. But police were also investigating the possibility of arson. There have been no reports of injuries related to the fires.

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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