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US Planes, fire crews tackling wildfire near Reagan ranch in California

12:11  14 october  2021
12:11  14 october  2021 Source:   reuters.com

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By Brad Brooks

Santa Barbara County Fire Hand Crew members burn off pockets of grass in the Alisal Fire © Reuters/MIKE ELIASON/SBCo FD Santa Barbara County Fire Hand Crew members burn off pockets of grass in the Alisal Fire

(Reuters) -California firefighters took advantage of a break in strong winds on Wednesday to get aircraft aloft and dump retardant on a fast-moving wildfire that was within a half mile of former President Ronald Reagan's ranch, officials said.

A crew of roughly 1,500 firefighters have so far successfully steered the Alisal fire away from the Reagan ranch, where the former U.S. leader hosted the likes of Queen Elizabeth and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, said Andrew Madsen, a spokesman for Los Padres National Forest, where the blaze is centered.

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A smoke column builds in the distance behind former President Ronald Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo © Reuters/MIKE ELIASON/SBCo FD A smoke column builds in the distance behind former President Ronald Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo

"There are forecasts of high winds tonight, and we're trying to get as much as we can done before then," Madsen said.

The crews are also working to keep the fire away from a shuttered Exxon Mobil facility in Las Flores canyon, he added. The company said in an emailed statement that it was closely monitoring the fire and there were no injuries at the facilities or damages to the facilities, which have been shut since 2015.

Firefighters work on a roadside fire off Calle Real near Refugio Road © Reuters/MIKE ELIASON/SBCo FD Firefighters work on a roadside fire off Calle Real near Refugio Road

The fire, which broke out on Monday about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Santa Barbara in a sparsely populated corner of southern California, has grown to 15,500 acres (6,272 hectares) and remains just 5% contained, Madsen said.

Impact of forest thinning on wildfires creates divisions

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Firefighters had hoped to take advantage of the lack of high winds to increase the containment line, Madsen said, but by evening they had not made any ground on the percentage.

The Alisal fire quickly grew on Tuesday amid strong winds, shutting down a section of a major highway and commuter train lines. California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday the state had secured federal funds to reimburse 75% of local and state costs related to fighting the blaze.

California is on pace to suffer more burnt acreage thisyear than last, the worst fire season on record when 4.2 million acres went up in flames - an area the size of Hawaii.

Firefighters work on a hilltop while battling the Alisal Fire west of Capitan © Reuters/MIKE ELIASON/SBCo FD Firefighters work on a hilltop while battling the Alisal Fire west of Capitan

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Additional reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Leslie Adler)

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Flames rise from the Alisal Fire in Refugio Canyon, near Refugio State Beach © Reuters/MIKE ELIASON/SBCo FD Flames rise from the Alisal Fire in Refugio Canyon, near Refugio State Beach

Coast Guard: California oil spill likely 25,000 gallons .
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The amount of crude oil spilled in an offshore pipeline leak in Southern California is believed to be close to 25,000 gallons, or only about one-fifth of what officials initially feared, a Coast Guard official said Thursday. The leak off the coast of Orange County was previously estimated to be at least 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters) and no more than 132,000 gallons (499,674 liters). The final count for the spill will likely be closer to the lower figure, which correlates with the amount of oiling seen on the California shore, Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore said. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, Oct.

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