Calmer winds aid firefighters battling California blaze

Calmer winds aid firefighters battling California blaze
A major Southern California highway was reopened as firefighters made progress against a wildfire in a coastal mountain range

A key Southern カリフォルニア highway closed for days because of a wildfire was reopened, but authorities warned that flames still posed a threat to remote properties in a coastal mountain range.

より多い 1,300 firefighters aided by aircraft dumping water and fire retardant worked to box in the blaze that has chewed through more than 26 平方マイル (67 平方キロメートル) of chaparral and grass in the Santa Ynez Mountains west of サンタバーバラ Containment of the Alisal Fire was increased to 11% on Thursday evening.

Calmer weather allowed aircraft to stay in the air longer, fire spokeswoman Kristen Allison said

“The winds are going to be a lot less than anticipated, so we’ll have helicopters working 24-7,” she said. “That’s great news.”

Authorities have said the fire is a threat to about 100 ranches and isolated homes. Among the properties being protected is Rancho del Cielo, which was once owned by Ronald and Nancy Reagan and used as their western retreat during his presidency. The 688-acre (278-ヘクタール) ranch sits high atop the mountain range.

Strong winds when the fire broke out on Monday pushed flames down the face of the mountain range toward the Pacific Ocean. The fire reached a beach after jumping the U.S. 101 highway and a rail line, which were both shut down. The winds since then have shifted but have been less intense.

Aircraft dropped a long line of fire retardant along a ridgetop road to help keep the fire from moving north, and a wildfire burn scar from slowed the blaze’s movement to the east. An older burn scar lay to the west.

“The further this fire moves both east and west it will move into some fire scars from previous wildfires, so those areas aren’t going to have nearly the amount of fuels for the fire to work with,” said Andrew Madsen, an information officer with Los Padres National Forest.

The fire remained about a half-mile (0.8 キロメートル) from the former Reagan ranch on Thursday, said Jessica Jensen, an official of the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative organization that now operates the ranch.

The foundation has expressed confidence in measures to keep the ranch property safe.

The rail line reopened Thursday afternoon and traffic on U.S. 101 began moving again several hours later.

他の場所, gusty winds, low humidity and dry vegetation triggered red flag warnings of high fire danger in parts of 南カリフォルニア and across some of Northern California’s interior.

Pacific Gas & Electric initially planned to cut power to thousands of customers in numerous counties on Thursday to prevent fires from being ignited by wind damage to power lines. But the utility said the wind event appeared to be weaker than what led to thousands of shutoffs on Monday and then rapidly scaled down the latest forced outage plan. By midday, customers in parts of only one county faced a notice of a potential power shutoff.

California wildfires have scorched nearly 3,900 平方マイル (10,101 平方キロメートル) this year and destroyed more than 3,600 家, businesses and other structures, according to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

A historic drought in the American West tied to climate change is making wildfires harder to fight. It has killed millions of trees in California alone. Scientists say climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 何年もの間、天候をより極端にし、山火事をより頻繁かつ破壊的にし続けるでしょう.