A wildfire burns in Riverside, Calif. Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. Strong winds fanned new Southern California wildfires on Thursday, burning homes and forcing residents to flee their homes in a repeat of the frightening scenario already faced by tens of thousands across the state. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

All evacuations lifted for Southern California wildfire

Firefighters have contained 50% of the blaze

Authorities lifted all evacuation orders as firefighters made progress Sunday on a large blaze that sent thousands fleeing homes and farms northwest of Los Angeles.

Crews working in steep terrain were tamping down hotspots and keeping an eye on lingering gusts in mountain areas that could carry embers, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Steve Kaufmann.

“I’d say we’re cautiously optimistic,” Kaufmann said, citing calmer winds overall and rising humidity levels.

Firefighters have contained 50% of the blaze, which has burned nearly 15 square miles (39 sq. kilometres) of dry brush and timber. Three buildings were destroyed.

More than 11,000 people evacuated after the flames spread Oct. 31 during dry winds that fanned fires across the state this fall.

In his first recent comments on the California fires, President Donald Trump threatened to cut U.S. aid funding to the state.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has done a “terrible job of forest management,” Trump tweeted. When fires rage, the governor comes to the federal government for help. “No more,” the president tweeted.

Newsom replied with a tweet of his own: “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.”

The state controls a small percentage of forest land. The federal government manages most of it. Neither of the two major fires currently burning in California are on forest land.

Last year Trump made a similar threat as wildfires devastated Malibu and Paradise, California — accusing the state of “gross mismanagement” of forests.

At the time Newsom defended California’s wildfire prevention efforts while criticizing the federal government for not doing enough to help protect the state.

In Northern California, more people returned to areas evacuated from a huge fire that burned for days in the Sonoma County wine country.

The 121-square-mile (313-square-kilometre) fire was 76% contained on Sunday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The tally of destroyed homes reached 175 and there were 35 more damaged, authorities said. Many other structures also burned.

The causes of both fires were under investigation but there was a possibility that electrical lines might have been involved — as was the case at other recent fires.

Southern California Edison said Friday that it re-energized a 16,000-volt power line 13 minutes before the fire erupted in the same area of Ventura County.

Edison and other utilities around the state shut off power to hundreds of thousands of people last week out of concerns that high winds could cause power lines to spark and start fires.

Southern California Edison will co-operate with investigators, the utility said.

READ MORE: Los Angeles wildfire forces residents, celebrities to flee

READ MORE: Electrical crews from B.C. sent to California wildfires

___

Christopher Weber, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Six affordable homes slated for Lumby

The village and Habitat for Humanity enter agreement to build on Shields Avenue

COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm likely linked to Kelowna outbreak, says Interior Health

A team of doctors, nurses and health investigators are at the Krazy Cherry Farm to test employees

Lake Country motorhome fire deemed suspicious

Vehicle found fully engulfed Tuesday, July 14, just before 8:30 p.m.

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

EDITORIAL: Counting the costs of a pandemic

As COVID-19 continues, Canada’s debt and deficit are growing while credit rating drops

Separate trials set for 2018 Kelowna Canada Day killing

Four people have been charged with manslaughter in relation to Esa Carriere’s death, including two youths

Kootnekoff: New workplace harassment and violence requirements

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years.

Dyer: Buying an electric car

Kristy Dyer is a columnist for Black Press Media who writes about the environment

Summerland Museum to hold walking tours

Community’s past will be explained during series of summer tours

Summerland mayor asks for community conversation following racist vandalism

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

HERGOTT: Goodbye column

Paul Hergott is taking a break from writing for Black Press

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Most Read