Fire crews make big wins against Southern California blaze – The Journal
Authorities say fire crews made significant overnight progress against a wildfire that burned for nearly a week in the coastal mountains of southern California
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) – Fire crews made significant overnight progress against a wildfire that burned for nearly a week in the coastal mountains of southern California, officials said on Sunday .
More than 1,600 firefighters battled the blaze in the Santa Ynez Mountains west of Santa Barbara by land and air. They were able to stop its future growth and the fire was 78% contained, federal officials said.
The Alisal fire started last Monday and burned nearly 27 square miles (69 square kilometers). It threatens around 400 structures.
A 0.6 hectare (1 1/2 acre) point fire that ignited outside a fire line in the northwest corner of the blaze was quickly brought under control by firefighters who used a bulldozer and hand lines on the ground and sprayed the flames with water from the air. Few hot spots remained on Sunday and fire crews focused on strengthening containment.
Cooler temperatures were forecast for Sunday, but winds gusting around 20 mph (32 km / h) were still expected in the region, officials said.
The blaze erupted in high winds last week and spread rapidly along the mountain range, jumping a highway and railroad tracks to the beach below. Weather conditions in firefighting have improved significantly since then, allowing planes and helicopters to bombard the fire with a retarder and water.
The California wildfires have burned nearly 3,900 square miles (10,101 square kilometers) this year and destroyed more than 3,600 homes, businesses and other structures, according to the State Department of Forestry and Fire Protection .
A historic drought in the American West linked to climate change is making wildfires more difficult to fight. He killed millions of trees in California alone. Scientists say climate change has made the West much hotter and drier over the past 30 years and will continue to make weather conditions more extreme and forest fires more frequent and destructive.