US Planes, fire crews tackling wildfire near Reagan ranch in California
Dixie Fire: Blaze continues to grow as firefighters brace for more heat and possible storms
After burning through huge swaths of forest and reducing small Northern California towns to ash, the nation's largest active wildfire continues to grow in hot and dry conditions even as containment inches up. © Maranie R. Staab/Getty Images GREENVILLE, CA - AUGUST 08: The sign for Main Street survived the Dixie Fire on on August 8, 2021 in Greenville, California. The Dixie Fire, which has incinerated more than 463,000 acres, is the second largest recorded wildfire in state history and remains only 21 percent contained. (Photo by Maranie R.
By Brad Brooks
(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.
Did an anchor strike the pipeline? Cause of California oil spill catastrophe could be determined today
Authorities are trying to determine what led to a pipeline breach that spilled more than 140,000 gallons of oil off the California coast.Investigators are looking into whether a ship’s anchor may have struck a pipeline on the ocean floor. An anchor is “one of the distinct possibilities” behind the leak, Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher told a news conference. Willsher said he expected that authorities would have a better idea of what caused the damage Tuesday.
"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.
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
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters and numerous studies credit intensive forest thinning projects with helping save communities like those recently threatened near Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada, but dissent from some environmental advocacy groups is roiling the scientific community. States in the U.S. West and the federal government each year thin thousands of acres of dense timber and carve broad swaths through the forest near remote communities, all designed to slow the spread of massive wildfires.
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.
(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Additional reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Leslie Adler)
PG&E power line suspected in Dixie fire was set to be buried underground in safety move
Pacific Gas & Electric is under rising scrutiny this summer as a series of huge fires across Northern California have raged amid hot, dry conditions. PG&E power lines might have been responsible for at least three of those fires, according to documents the utility has filed with state regulators and a federal court. Legal liability from the devastation in Paradise and other wildfires pushed PG&E into bankruptcy and brought vows that the utility would fix its power grid. But the new fires have brought new outrage and demonstrate that there is still much work to do.
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.