Fires In Southern California Continue To Burn Out of Control
LCoastMom | September 23, 2009 at 12:54 pmby
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The Ventura County Sheriff's Office has stated they believe the fire was caused by spontaneous combustion of manure at a farm just outside Moorpark. Until fire officials are able to finish their investigation they are not able to comment.
Officials gave an update at 10 a.m stating 9,700 acres have burned as airtankers including a D-C jumbo jet, eight firefighting airplanes and four helitankers dropped both water and fire retardant chemicals on the blaze. As it blows across the dry underbrush that covers the hillside. More than 600 firefighters from various agencies and location are battling the blaze.
The air attack has to be grounded overnight due to the dangers of flying in the dark, but the ground battle is able to take advantage of the winds dying down over night to help get a foothold before sun comes up causing temperatures to rise and the wind to resume with gusts up to 50 mph in the canyons.
Firefighters battling the flames on the ground, causing three minor injuries to firemen. Two cases of smoke inhalation and a sprained ankle. All have been treated and released from a local hospital.
Spokesmen Bill Nash said the evacuation order was lifted from two neighborhoods late last night but numerous others remain in effect. At least two small out buildings have been destroyed, but no homes have caught fire. Fire Captain Ron Oatman told residents not to wait for an evacuation order if you fear you are in danger.
Donna Voelker, 66, said she took her laptop, photo albums and a family quilt and drove out of the area while her husband and children stayed to hose down their home on Guiberson. She credited firefighters with saving her home. “These firefighters were right in there this time,” she said.
With temperatures in the triple digits and low humidity, firefighters prepared for the worst as the sun came up this morning. The winds continued to blow both east and west over night and into the early morning hours, causing the flames to spread and grow. At their briefing this morning firemen were told to be prepared for sudden shifts in the winds direction.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar has declared a state of emergency for Ventura County, freeing up state resources to battle the blaze, which was one of several burning in Southern California Tuesday. Including the huge arson caused San Gabriel wildfire, which started on August 26 and caused the deaths of two firemen. That fire continues to be more than 90% contained as fire fighters stayed on top of areas that flared due to the dry hot winds.
Spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service, Carol Underhills said last nights haze over the area was caused by ash blown by the winds, not an increase in fire activity. Firefighters had thought the area would be 100% contained late Tuesday but have pushed it back to Thursday morning because of the winds.