California: Hot Spot Hits 812 Degrees, Starts Fires
This is a scientific mystery. Why one patch of land hits 812 degrees and literally sets things on fire is under investigation.
High atop a steep grass-covered mountain overlooking the Little Sespe Canyon near Fillmore, the earth is on fire.
Wisps of smoke rise from a brown patch of grass that looks like it was toasted under an oven's broiler. Deep down, under the dirt, rocks and grass, something is smoldering and burning, sending smoke through cracks in the parched soil.
It's being called a natural anomaly, a geological whodunit, a scientific puzzler. And it's the second time that scientists have been scratching their heads over the fact the earth under Ventura County is burning.
In 2004, a patch of land northwest of Ojai burned so hot, it started a brush fire that scorched three acres in Los Padres National Forest. Firefighters cleared the grass from the newest area of hot earth near Fillmore on Friday so the same thing won't happen..
Though the outcome of both circumstances is the same — ground hot enough to delaminate boot soles — the reasons they started are likely very different. But both are equally fascinating to those who make their living examining rocks and sediment.