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Tsunami of fire threatens California homes

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 2nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Some California residents are fleeing for their lives as a tsunami or fire threatens to engulf their homes. Fueled by Santa Ana winds, a fast-growing, rapidly spreading fire has prompted evacuations around Camarillo and Newbury Park, in the Oxnard area northwest of Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online)  - The Camarillo Springs fire has scorched over 2,000 acres and that figure is rising rapidly. Officials have begin evacuations in areas that are under direct threat from the fast-spreading fire.

The fire started near the 101 freeway, a major transportation artery for the state. The cause remains under investigation.

Recent images in the media show it has already burned several mobile homes. Classes at the nearby Cal State Channel Islands have been cancelled on account of smoke and soot from the fires.

Mandatory evacuations are now in affect.

The fires, started early this morning and have been sped along by California's notorious Santa Ana winds. Santa Ana winds are most common in the spring and can easily peak over 40 MPH. For a region accustomed to placid weather, the winds can wreak havoc on property.

Exacerbating the problem is one of the worst droughts in California history. After an exceptionally dry winter, much of California is a tinderbox ready to burn. Wildfire season begins in mid-spring as the grass turns brown in the foothills of the Golden State.

Fires can be sparked by storms, or quite commonly people. It doesn't take an act of arson either. In the exceptionally dry California brush, a spark from a vehicle or equipment is more than sufficient. The fires spread so quickly that even first responders can have difficulty containing them.

Add Santa Ana winds, and authorities are almost helpless to fight the infernos.

Since fires such as these are common in California, authorities require fire breaks and extensive care when working in grassy areas that are prone to fire. Nonetheless, these fires can still damage homes and occasionally claim lives.

The Camarillo fire spread very rapidly and is still burning out of control. Authorities have warned area residents to be ready to evacuate since the fire could shift direction.

The Red Cross has established evacuation centers in affected areas and will open new ones as needed.

For the moment, the fire is burning southwest, in the direction of the coast.

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