A brush fire that erupted in the Santa Paula area of Ventura County early Thursday has burned about 50 acres, authorities said.
The blaze, dubbed the Briggs fire, started near Highway 126 and Briggs Road beside the Santa Clara River about 1:40 a.m., according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Though authorities first estimated it to be 75 acres, by 9:30 a.m. firefighters had stopped the blaze from growing and downgraded the acreage estimate.
Firefighters managing the massive Woolsey fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties will get a break in winds Thursday, which they expect will help them increase the fire’s containment, officials said.
Northeast winds are expected to drop to between 15 and 25 mph in the morning and then shift around noon, meteorologist Rich Thompson said. A sea breeze will blow off the ocean and up the coastal canyons through the evening until a light round of northeast winds returns overnight, he said.
“Definitely a lot less wind out there today than we have seen the last several days, but it’s still very dry out there,” he said.
Wind fueled the Woolsey fire, which has killed at least three people and consumed more than 98,000 acres. But with relative humidity still in the single digits, danger remains for firefighters.
Shrubs, trees and other potential fuels are as dry as 2-by-4s sold at hardware stores, officials have said. Relative humidity should increase near the coast overnight.
Maggie Missere, 61, and her partner, Michael Crowder, 64, spent five days sleeping in their truck in a Burger King parking lot in Chico with their dog, Coco.
Missere has heart problems and had difficulty living out of the truck. So earlier this week, they headed to Walmart for a tent and met a pastor who set them up with donated supplies.
On Wednesday afternoon, the couple sat outside their red tent, clutching mugs of coffee while Coco slept on a new bed beside them. By the afternoon the camp had swelled with more than 100 people. Many had pets with them.
It’s been a surreal time for the Chico Enterprise-Record and its longtime editor, David Little.
The last week has been like nothing else the 40-year newspaper veteran has experienced. Like the community they’re trying to keep informed, members of Little’s staff have been displaced and are worried about missing friends and lost loved ones.
For several days after the fire started, two employees were missing. Both were found alive and well. Throughout it all, Little’s staff continued to perform at the highest of levels. Informing the community in times of crisis is why many of them got into the business, after all.
Firefighters battling the Camp fire in Northern California boosted containment of the massive blaze overnight to 40%, though the fire continued to expand its footprint.
The blaze has charred 140,000 acres in Butte County as of Thursday morning, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials.
Officials said the blaze, which is the deadliest and most destructive in California history, remained active overnight. Crews will use ground and air resources through the day to get a handle on the fire’s growth.
Firefighters stopped the Woolsey fire’s expansion and boosted containment of the devastating blaze to 57% overnight, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said Thursday.
The fire’s footprint as of Thursday morning was 98,362 acres.
The boost in containment comes as strong winds that had battered the region for three consecutive days finally diminished. This means the fire will transition from being wind-driven to terrain and fuel-driven, said Cal Fire spokesman Chris Anthony.
Public health officials were responding to a norovirus outbreak at an evacuation center for fire victims in Chico, the main city near Paradise.
Lisa Almaguer, the public information officer for the Butte County Department of Public Health, said that norovirus was confirmed at Neighborhood Church, a Chico shelter where about 200 evacuees are staying.
Almaguer did not know how many people were ill but said that the sick have been separated from the healthy.