Entries in Brush fire (3)


Brush Fire in Southern California Prompts Evacuations

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BANNING, Calif.) -- Fires have forced hundreds of residents to evacuate their homes near Banning, Calif., in the Inland Empire section of Southern California.

More than 425 firefighters are battling the blazes while dozens of air tankers and helicopters drop water and retardant to combat fierce winds, high temperatures and dry weather feeding the brush fire 90 miles outside Los Angeles.

"The fire is being pushed by this wind, very challenging today," one firefighter told ABC News. "Any little spark across the line and the fire will take off and run on us again."

By 9 p.m. Wednesday, the Riverside County Fire Department said the fire was mapped at 2,956 acres, according to ABC affiliate KABC-TV. With shovels and hoses, firefighters were looking to make headway.

"If the winds die down, firefighters will be able to get busy on the ground and hopefully we can hook this fire. But if we get strong, erratic winds throughout the evening, that could create quite a challenge," John Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, told KABC.

Meanwhile, some residents are taking matters into their own hands. Jerry Prather and his neighbor grabbed a garden hose, and sprayed down trees, keeping the fires at bay until fire crews arrived.
"We've had fires here before, but nothing this close," Prather told ABC News.

Joe Keener's home was destroyed by the fire. As he backed out of his driveway, he said he wasn't worried about what was in the house.

"I just knew I had to leave," he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Investigation Begins in Carolina Forest Fire that Burned 26 Homes

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(CAROLINA FOREST, S.C.) -- Officials are investigating a Saturday night brush fire that consumed 26 condominium buildings and burned more than 100 homes in Carolina Forest, S.C.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission is handling the investigation after the fire destroyed dozens of buildings. According to the Myrtle Beach Sun-News, weather conditions including wind gusts, low humidity and warm temperatures have created elevated fire danger levels.

The smoke from Saturday night's fire could be seen for miles. According to the Sun-News, firefighters responded to the fire at approximately 5:00 p.m. Saturday, finally getting the flames under control at about 10:30 p.m., as reported by the Sun-News. Four first responders were taken to the hospital, but no residents were injured or killed.

While the cause of the fire is not clear, one witness told the Sun-News that it seemed to begin near a set of power lines.

It is unknown how many people were displaced by the fire. Residents of the buildings that were not burned down were told that they could retrieve imperative belongings, such as medication, on Sunday morning.

A burn ban has been put into effect, prohibiting any open flames indefinitely.

In addition, the South Carolina Forestry Commission says that they have a Red Flag warning out, meaning that the warmth, lack of humidity and winds, the same weather conditions that fed Saturday night's blaze, still exist and citizens should remain cautious.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Elderly Man Admits to Accidentally Starting Reno Brush Fire

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(RENO, Nev.) -- An elderly man has come forward and admitted to accidentally starting a blaze that burned nearly 3,200 acres and forced the evacuation of 10,000 people in Reno, Nev., officials said Saturday.

Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez said the man, who has yet to be identified, came forward Friday on his own and confessed to improperly discarding fireplace ashes outside of his home in the north end of the Washoe Valley, about 20 miles south of town.

The blaze, which started Thursday, was fueled by wind gusts of up to 82 mph and what officials are calling the state's driest winter in 120 years, destroyed 29 homes.

"He has given statements to our investigators as well as law enforcement officers," Hernandez said. "He is extremely remorseful."

Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley said the case will be forwarded to the district attorney's office next week for consideration. The man could face arson charges that would include repayment of the cost of fighting the fire, which now stands at $690,000, but is estimated to reach totals in the millions.

"The DA will have to give this case a lot of deliberation. The fact that he came forward and admitted it plays a role, but so does the massive damage and loss of life. It's a balancing act," Haley said.

Hernandez estimated the fire to be 65 percent contained Friday night, thanks to calmer winds, but more than 300 firefighters and 125 support staff, including law enforcement and members of the Nevada National Guard, were still fighting the fire and checking for hot spots.

Of those evacuated, 2,000 people are still unable to return to their homes.

Highway 395 between Reno and Carson City, closed near the area where the brush fire began, was reopened late Friday night, but, according to Nevada State police, many other roads are still closed.

"The number one thing for us is public safety," Trooper Michael Edgell said. "We've got dozens of power poles that have been burned, that are draped across the landscape, that are borderline dripping onto the highway."

The forecast for rain and snow Saturday presented a new challenge to fire crews, with flooding possible in the burned areas.

Officials said the fire was almost identical to one that ripped through the area in mid-November that destroyed 30 homes and burned 2,000 acres. Fire crews were aided in controlling that blaze by snowfall.

Hernandez said crews were able to prevent the fire from spreading any further, containing it to about six square miles, but officials said it is shocking to see the amount of damage.

"You take so many things for granted," Edgell said. "You get used to your scenery and when you drive through here, and you actually see what the fire has done that it's just amazing to me that the fire can do so much damage."

The evacuation center set up at Damonte Ranch High School was closed and evacuees unable to find a place to stay were provided hotel rooms by the Red Cross. One hundred people in the Reno area remain without power.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio