Latest on Southern California wildfires: San Diego County wildfire surging toward sea | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Latest on Southern California wildfires: San Diego County wildfire surging toward sea

Associated Press

A wildfire threatens homes as it burns along the 101 Freeway Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes and other structures Tuesday and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

8:45 p.m.

A wildfire that’s burned 20 homes in San Diego County is roaring westward and fire officials say it could reach the sea.

Santa Ana winds have driven the flames over 6 ½ square miles of the northern county. Authorities Thursday night say it could reach Oceanside and the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Evacuations have been ordered for nearby areas.

The fire has ravaged trailer homes in a retirement community in Fallbrook and killed race horses at an elite training facility.

Authorities say three people were hospitalized with burns and two firefighters were injured battling the flames.

The fire is one of six that have burned dozens of homes and prompted mass evacuations from north of Los Angeles southward nearly to San Diego.

Recommended Stories For You

Forecasts call for the gusty Santa Ana winds to continue for at least another day.

___

7:30 p .m.

A California wildfire tore through a training center for elite race horses in San Diego County, killing some while others were able to sprint to safety.

There was no official count of animals killed in the hazy confusion as both horses and humans evacuated, but trainers at San Luis Rey Downs estimated that at least a dozen had died, possibly far more.

Horses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were simply set free from their stables to flee.

San Luis Rey Downs is home to horses that run at nearby Del Mar and other top-flight racetracks like Santa Anita Park.

Doug O’Neill, whose horses have won the Kentucky Derby, is among the trainers who keep horses there.

Trainer Scott Hansen says he doesn’t know which of his 30 horses are dead, and which are alive, and he may not know until morning.

___

6:40 p.m.

Fire officials say at least 439 homes and other buildings have burned in a wildfire northeast of Los Angeles.

The wind-whipped blaze has burned nearly 180 square miles (466 square kilometers) in Ventura County stretching from hilly forests to the Pacific Ocean. It is only 5 percent contained and gusty Santa Ana winds that have driven the fire are expected to continue.

Officials Thursday night say they have made good progress battling much of the fire but that thousands of homes remain in jeopardy.

One section of the blaze continues to move toward the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria and Montecito.

It’s the biggest and most destructive of the windblown fires raking Southern California. Another fire that erupted Thursday in San Diego County has burned two people and destroyed at least 20 homes.

___

4:50 p.m.

At least 20 homes have burned in a retirement community as a wildfire surges through northern San Diego County.

The homes are burning in the tightly-packed Rancho Monserate Country Club community in the small city of Fallbrook.

The wind-whipped blaze erupted Thursday afternoon and authorities say it’s moving dangerously fast.

Two people have been burned and about 4 square miles (10 square kilometers) of land have been blackened.

The blaze is one of at least five destructive fires burning in Southern California. A fire that flared Thursday afternoon in the Murrieta area of Riverside County, north of San Diego County, has destroyed at least one home.

___

3:40 p.m.

Authorities say they are treating two people who were burned as a fast-moving wildfire raged through a rural part of San Diego County.

California state fire officials said Thursday that the two victims were being taken to a hospital.

The fire has burned more th an 1,000 acres (400 hectares) and destroyed at least five buildings. Fire officials say more than 1,000 others are threatened around the community of Bonsall.

They say the fire is “growing at a dangerous rate of spread.”

Several evacuation centers have been set up nearby.

___

3:05 p.m.

A fast-growing wildfire fanned by Santa Ana winds in rural San Diego County has burned 1,000 acres (400 hectares) only hours after starting.

State fire authorities said Thursday more than five buildings have been destroyed, an unknown number has been damaged and more than 1,000 others are threatened around Bonsall. The picturesque community of 4,000 people amid rolling hills is known for its equestrian facilities.

Officials shut down state Highway 76 in both directions, ordered mandatory evacuations around Bonsall and opened shelters at schools and casinos. The blaze started shortly after 11 a.m.

State officials said the military was assisting wit h helicopters. The area is near Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base.

It’s the latest wind-driven fire in Southern California, including destructive blazes to the northwest in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

___

2:50 p.m.

A text alert about dangerous fire weather conditions that was sent to 12 million Southern Californians in seven counties was the widest ever issued by the state Office of Emergency Services.

Winds early Thursday turned out not to be as dire as predicted, but Emergency Service Deputy Director Kelly Huston says the office erred on the side of caution because conditions were similar to those that led to 44 deaths in fires that broke out across Northern California on Oct. 8.

Huston says he would rather be criticized for potentially annoying someone than for not delivering a critical alert.

Some Northern Californians complained they never received evacuation alerts as the firestorms developed, and state lawmakers on Thursda y announced plans to introduce legislation establishing statewide emergency alert protocols.

___

2:45 p.m.

A fast-moving wildfire fanned by Santa Ana winds has burned more than 500 acres (200 hectares) in rural San Diego County within hours of starting.

State fire authorities said Thursday more than five buildings have been destroyed, an unknown number has been damaged and more than 1,000 others are threatened around the community of Bonsall.

Officials shut down state Highway 76 in both directions and ordered mandatory evacuations around Bonsall. The blaze started shortly after 11 a.m.

Evacuations include a mobile home park, a golf course country club and two schools. Two lanes of Interstate 15 are also closed.

It’s the latest wind-driven fire in Southern California, including destructive blazes to the northwest in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

___

1 p.m.

San Diego County officials have ordered mandatory evacuations due to a fast-moving fire fanned by Santa Ana winds.

California state fire authorities say in a statement that the fire has destroyed two buildings and damaged 12.

The fire was reported about 11 a.m. Thursday near the rural community of Bonsall and has grown to 150 acres (60 hectares) amid gusts up to 35 mph (56 kph).

The evacuations include a mobile home park, a golf course country club and two schools. Two lanes of Interstate 15 are also closed.

It’s the latest among wind-driven fires in Southern California, including destructive blazes to the northwest in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

___

11:30 a.m.

Residents are being ordered to evacuate a tiny beachfront community northwest of Los Angeles where a huge wildfire is churning down hillsides toward seaside homes.

A California Highway Patrol officer drove through Faria Beach Thursday announcing the evacuations through a loudspeaker as surging winds roiled smoke through the streets.

Residents used garden hoses to spray palm trees to keep them from burning as firefighters scrambled to stop the progress of flames.

U.S. 101 along the coast was intermittently closed, as were several highways in and around the Ventura County resort town of Ojai (OH’-hi), where most of the 7,000 residents are under evacuation orders.

Thousands of homes remain threatened by at least four major Southern California wildfires that have destroyed structures and sent residents fleeing.

___

8:45 a.m.

A sheriff’s official says a woman has been found dead after a car crash in an area under a mandatory evacuation order as the largest of the wildfires raged in Southern California.

Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue tells The Associated Press that the woman’s body was found Wednesday night at the scene of a crash in the Wheeler Canyon area of Santa Paula.

Donoghue says the car was found off the roadway after what appeared to be a single-car crash. He says there were no witnesses to the crash, but no foul play is suspected.

Donoghue says investigators were still trying to determine if the death was connected to the wildfires or if the person was trying to evacuate from the area.

The woman’s name hasn’t been released and a cause of death is still being determined.

___

6:45 a.m.

Southern California authorities have ordered evacuations for the first time in Santa Barbara County as crews protect coastal communities from a destructive wildfire that’s steadily marching west and northwest.

A key stretch of U.S. 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties was intermittently closed Thursday as flames jumped lanes.

Residents of 300 homes in the oceanfront city of Carpinteria were ordered to leave before dawn. A few miles down the coast, crews beat back flames creeping down hillsides toward the seaside hamlet of La Conchita, where at least one abandoned structure burned.

In Los Angeles County firefighters are watching for flare-ups as they try to contain three major blazes that have destroyed homes and sent thousands fleeing.

Forecasters say a more favorable wind forecast still calls for potentially dangerous gusts across the region.

___

5:15 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 7

Authorities have closed a major freeway as flames from the largest and most destructive Southern California wildfire churn toward coastal and mountain communities northwest of Los Angeles.

Calmer overnig ht winds Thursday helped crews protect the Ventura County resort town of Ojai (OH’-hi), where most of the 7,000 residents are under evacuation orders.

The National Weather Service says a more favorable wind forecast still calls for potentially dangerous gusts, but ones not likely not to approach historic levels they’d feared.

Officials closed U.S. 101 for more than a dozen miles along the coast, cutting off a major route between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as fire charred heavy brush along lanes.

Thousands of homes remain threatened by at least four major Southern California wildfires that have destroyed structures and sent residents fleeing.

___

10:30 p.m.

A surge from the biggest of the wildfires burning in Southern California has forced several thousand more people to evacuate in a community of artists and resorts.

Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow says flames have been creeping closer and slowly surrounding the town of Ojai (OH’hi), and on Tuesday night increasing winds brought them close enough to expand evacuation orders there.

Flames, now about 4 miles away, were visible from the city’s downtown for the first time on Tuesday night, and ash was raining down.

Parts of Ojai were already under evacuation orders, and the entire valley surrounding it had been under a voluntary evacuation advisory since the fire broke out on Monday.

The new evacuations meant most of the town of about 7,000 people was under mandatory orders.

Nearly 30,000 people are under evacuation o rders for the fire.

___

7:50 p.m.

The largest and most destructive wildfire in Southern California has grown to 140 square miles and fire officials say the worst may be yet to come.

The 90,000-acre fire burning in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles has swept through ridges and canyons to the sea and Santa Ana winds that drove it are expected to return with a vengeance overnight.

State fire director Ken Pimlott says winds that eased in the afternoon could return with gusts up to 80 mph Thursday that would make it impossible to fight the fire.

Dozens of homes have burned since the blaze erupted Monday. Nearly 1,800 firefighters and a fleet of aircraft are fighting the flames but the blaze is only 5 percent contained and an estimated 12,000 buildings are in danger.

___

6:20 p.m.

A wildfire in a wealthy western area of Los Angeles has reached the est ate and winery owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Roxanne Langer at Moraga Vineyards in Bel Air says a temperature-controlled wine storage shed burned after the fire erupted before dawn Wednesday but it’s unclear how much wine was lost.

She says firefighters stepped in to douse the flames with the aid of helicopters and that other storage sheds, the winery itself and the estate’s unoccupied house are not damaged.

The winery has been evacuated.

Murdoch bought the property for about $30 million in 2013.

Langer says it appears the 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vines suffered only slight damage and the grapes already had been harvested.

In a Facebook statement, Murdoch says some neighbors suffered heavy losses and his thoughts and prayers are with them.

___

3:45 p.m.

Firefighters have stopped the spread of a wildfire that has destroyed homes near the world-famous Getty museum in Los Angeles.

Deputy Fire Chief Charles Butler says firefighters and aircraft stopped the growth of the 475-acre (192-hectare) blaze in the Bel Air neighborhood.

There are currently few visible flames and crews are concentrating on the southwest corner of the fire.

Butler says four homes have been destroyed and 11 damaged since the blaze erupted before dawn Wednesday in an area that includes many hilltop mansions.

About 700 homes, an apartment building and a school have been ordered evacuated.

Northeast winds driving the flames eased by afternoon but are expected to return in full force Wednesday night. Firefighters are struggling to ring the blaze before that happens.

___

3:15 p.m.

California’s top firefighter says the state is in for the worst Santa Ana wind conditions it’s ever seen.

Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, says the wind wildfire threat to Southern California for Thursday is purple. The has color has never been used before, means there is extreme danger and that fires that erupt will burn uncontrollably.

Below that is red, meaning high danger of fires that burn rapidly and intensely and are difficult to control.

Pimlott says the winds could hit 80 mph (129 kph) and make it impossible to fight Southern California wildfires that have destroyed at least 200 homes and buildings.

Five wind-driven flames continue to threaten homes in Ventura and Los Angeles. Some 200,000 people are under evacuation orders.

___

 

1:25 p.m.

The University of Calif ornia, Los Angeles, has canceled classes for the rest of the day due to difficult traffic problems stemming from a wildfire.

The university’s website says many students, faculty and staff have been unable to reach the campus Wednesday, so classes from noon onward are canceled.

The athletics department says a night men’s basketball game and all other team workouts and practices are canceled.

The fire erupted before dawn in the Sepulveda Pass, just up Interstate 405 from UCLA. The fire has destroyed some homes as it spread into the Bel Air area.

___

10 a.m.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says at least four and possibly six homes have been destroyed by a wildfire in the city’s Bel Air area.

The fire erupted before dawn Wednesday in Sepulveda Pass, a major commuter route between the west side of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley to the north.

The fire burned up hillsides on the east side of the pass into expensive neighborhoods that are now under evacuation orders.

The mayor says the fire is now 150 acres with zero containment.

Some 500 firefighters are battling the fire along with water-dropping helicopters and airplanes laying down streams of fire retardant.

The dangerous Santa Ana winds that have fanned fires across Southern California this week have diminished over the new LA fire but conditions are very dry, with just 9 percent relative humidity.

___

9:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says his thoughts and prayers “are with everyone” in the path of California’s latest wildfires.

Trump in a tweet is also encouraging everyone “to heed the advice and orders of local and state officials” and thanking first responders for their “incredible work!”

Wind-driven fires have raced through California communities for the second time in two months, leaving hundreds of homes feared lost and uprooting tens of thousands of people.

The most damaging fire is in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, where more than 100 square miles (259 sq. kilometers) and numerous homes have burned.

Deadly fires tore through Northern California earlier this year.

___

8:03 a.m.

The biggest and most destructive of several wildfires burning in Southern California has scorched more than 101 square miles.

State fire authorities say the fire burning in Ventura County about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles is also considered a threat to 12,000 structures Wednesday.

Dozens of homes have burned since the fire erupted Monday amid fierce Santa Ana winds.

A new fire burning among ridges and canyons on the west side of Los Angeles has also burned several homes while snarling morning commuter traffic.

___

7:35 a.m.

Two homes are burning in a wildfire that has erupted in an exclusive ridge-top neighborhood in Los Angeles, the latest to hit fire-plagued Southern California.

The fire broke out before dawn Wednesday on the east side of Interstate 405 in the Sepulveda Pass and raced up steep slopes into neighborhoods at the top.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has deployed hundreds of firefighters and called in helicopters and airplanes.

Evacuations have been ordered and a wider area has been told to be ready for orders to leave.

It’s the same region of Los Angeles where hundreds of homes burned in the famous 1961 Bel Air Fire.

___

6:52 a.m.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in an exclusive ridge-top neighborhood in Los Angeles as a dangerous new wildfire burns in Southern California.

The fire erupted before dawn Wednesday on the east side of Sepulveda Pass, which carries heavily traveled Interstate 405 through the Santa Monica Mountains on the city’s western side.

Helicopters are making water drops and more than 200 firefighters are battling flames close to homes.

In addition to the mandatory evacuations, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart says a wider area on the east side of the pass has been advised to get ready in case of evacuation orders.

___

5:35 a.m.

A brush fire has erupted on the east side of Los Angeles along Interstate 405 in Sepulveda Pass.

Fire Department spokesman Margaret Stewart says the fire was reported at 4:52 a.m. Wednesday and is burning uphill, driven by topography rather than winds.

Stewart says 47 firefighters are on the scene, setting up protection for homes at the top of the steep slopes. Two firefighting helicopters have been assigned.

Sepulveda Pass carries heavily traveled Interstate 405 through the Santa Monica Mountains between the western neighborhoods of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley to the north.

___

12:40 a.m.

The same vicious winds that made three Southern California wildfires so destructive are also making the firefight itself more difficult.

The water-dropping planes and helicopters essential to fighting massive fires have been mostly grounded because it’s too dangerous to fly in the strong gusts.

Commanders hoped to have them back in the air on Wednesday morning, but all indications are the winds will be whipping then too.

The blazes brought evacuation orders for nearly 200,000 people, destroyed nearly 200 homes and have remained mostly out control.

The largest and most destructive of the blazes, an 85-square-mile wildfire in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, had nearly reached the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday night after starting 30 miles inland a day earlier.