Friday, November 14, 2008

FIRE

they are about 1.5 hours south and won;t make it up to us. But we have an air quality advisary and were told to conserve water.
from a website:
( http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=amOI4QXAA24E&refer=us )

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- About 4,500 residents of the celebrity enclave of Montecito, California, are fleeing a fire whipped by high winds that has burned more than 1,500 acres and destroyed or damaged at least 60 homes.

The blaze began at 5:50 p.m. Los Angeles time yesterday in the Los Padres National Forest, and more than 1,100 firefighters have been deployed, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire. About 1,500 homes are threatened.

``This continues to be a dangerous fire and residents should remain aware of local conditions and be prepared to respond to any warnings,'' the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said in a statement.

Montecito is southeast of Santa Barbara and about 73 miles (118 kilometers) up the coast from Los Angeles. Actors including Michael Douglas own property there. In addition to those who fled the area, officials have urged another 4,500 to consider leaving, Cal Fire said in a statement.
The area is under a red-flag warning until tomorrow from the National Weather Service in Oxnard, meaning conditions exist that will ``create explosive fire-weather conditions.''
Last night, 70 mph wind gusts were recorded for five hours, said Dave Samuhel, a meteorologist at private forecaster AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. The area is also experiencing near-record heat and dryness, he said.
Desert Air Mass

``It is basically a desert air mass with wind added on top of it,'' Samuhel said. ``You can't say enough how high the fire danger is.''

Samuhel said the region won't get any relief from the high temperatures, wind gusts and low humidity for several days.

``This is a full weekend event,'' Samuhel said. ``This will be an extreme weekend.''
While winds won't be as severe in the next few days, they will still be high, and the hot weather will continue, Samuhel said.

``There is no big cool-down coming,'' Samuhel said.

Efforts to battle the blaze have also put a strain on the region's water supply, and residents are urged to curb their usage, the Montecito Fire Department said in a statement.

``Water reservoirs have dropped to critically low levels,'' the statement said.
Early Start

California had an unprecedented early start to its fire season in June, when lightning touched off 1,700 fires in one day that went on to consume more than 1 million acres (404,686 hectares), a record for destruction.

The number of homes damaged and destroyed in the new blaze, dubbed the Tea Fire, may rise when teams can inspect the area in the daylight, said Doug Lannon, a spokesman for Cal Fire.
Firefighters will receive help from 10 air tankers and nine helicopters later today, he said.
As of Nov. 7, 73,704 wildfires were reported in the U.S., burning about 5.1 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The 10-year, January-to- November average is 73,070 fires burning 6.8 million acres.
The agency reports there have been 9,589 wildfires in California so far this year. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said the state now has a year-round fire season. --
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