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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz and Robert J. Lopez
A wildfire raging in the Big Sur area has grown to 917 acres, but more than 1,000 firefighters on scene have the blaze 79% contained, the U.S. Forest Service said Thursday. Crews, struggling with difficult terrain, had managed to increase containment from 74% the day before, aided by cooler temperatures and higher humidity brought on by a recent weather system. The Forest Service said that crews made progress overnight strengthening containment lines "in all areas of the fire.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 18, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
A brush fire that has scorched more than 800 acres in the Big Sur area was 74% contained, the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday night. Ground crews made good progress containing the Pfeiffer fire and were hopeful that a cold storm system moving over the Monterey County area Wednesday night would further aid efforts to combat the fire, officials said. More than 1,000 firefighters were assigned to battle the blaze, which broke out Monday in the vicinity of Pfeiffer Ridge in the Los Padres National Forest.  Earlier Wednesday, firefighters on the ground were aided by four water-dropping helicopters, the Forest Service said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 17, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
Crews fighting a wildfire in Big Sur hoped to seize on improving weather conditions to gain an upper hand on the largely uncontrolled blaze. The Pfeiffer fire, so named because it started in the area of Pfeiffer Ridge in the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest, had grown only slightly overnight Monday to 550 acres, but it was only 5% contained, officials said. PHOTOS: Big Sur fire rages uncontrolled As of Tuesday, about 100 people had been forced to evacuate near state Highway 1 after the blaze destroyed at least 15 homes, including one that belonged to Big Sur Fire Chief Martha Karstens.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 17, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz and Robert J. Lopez
Hundreds of additional firefighters have been called to battle a wildfire in Big Sur that has consumed 500 acres and destroyed 15 homes. The ranks of 400 firefighters on the lines Monday were increased to 625 by Tuesday morning. U.S. Forest Service officials said they had no containment of the fire and do not even have an accurate count of acreage burned because of the heavy smoke and rough terrain. The Pfeiffer fire, so named because it started in the area of Pfeiffer Ridge in the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest, has also forced about 100 people to evacuate near state Highway 1, officials said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 2013 | By Samantha Schaefer
A fire in Monterey County has burned more than 300 acres of dense, dry vegetation, prompting some evacuations in the Big Sur area, officials said. Dubbed the Pfeiffer fire, the blaze started late Sunday near the intersection of Pfeiffer Ridge Road and Highway 1, said Andrew Madsen, a spokesman for the Los Padres National Forest. At least 50 people have been evacuated from the area, he said. Air tankers, four helicopters and a strike team of engines from the Angeles National Forest were assisting crews on the ground, who are working to put containment lines in place, Madsen said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 2013 | By Samantha Schaefer
A Monterey County wildfire grew to more than 500 acres Monday as about 300 firefighters battled the Big Sur area blaze, officials said. The Pfeiffer fire started late Sunday near the intersection of Pfeiffer Ridge Road and Highway 1, said Andrew Madsen, a spokesman for the Los Padres National Forest. Residents living on Pfeiffer Ridge Road have been evacuated, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Twelve homes have been destroyed, including one belonging to the Big Sur fire chief, KSBW reported . No injuries have been reported.
NATIONAL
November 5, 2013 | By Becca Clemons
WASHINGTON - On the heels of a fire season that burned more than 4,000 homes and killed 34 people across the country, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) on Tuesday called for a "saner approach" to preventing wildfires while budgets are strained as a result of fighting them. "It's hard to believe that while damages have soared, we're also spending more than ever to fight fires," Bennet said at a Senate Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing. In the last six years, eight Western states have experienced the largest or most destructive fires in their histories, said James Hubbard, deputy chief of the Forest Service.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 3, 2013 | By Tony Barboza
GROVELAND, Calif. - As autumn turns to winter and rain falls over the charred landscape left behind by the Rim fire, forest rangers and emergency planners have a new worry: water. Over 90% of the blaze burned in the Tuolumne River watershed, where more than 2,600 miles of streams cut through steep, now-burned slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Those mountains are primed for flooding and debris flows in a big storm. The 410-square-mile blaze - California's third-largest on record - ignited on Aug. 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest and burned into the northwest part of Yosemite National Park.
SCIENCE
October 24, 2013 | By Tony Barboza
Wildfire smoke poses a growing health risk to millions of Americans, even for those who live hundreds of miles from the flames, a new report by an environmental group says. About two-thirds of Americans, or nearly 212 million people, lived in counties that two years ago contended with wildfire smoke linked to respiratory problems like asthma, pneumonia and chronic lung diseases, according to a report released Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The group used satellite imagery of smoke plumes from the 2011 wildfire season - one of the worst in recent years - to take a nationwide snapshot of air quality.
OPINION
October 4, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Even before the embers from the Rim fire had stopped smoldering, the House of Representatives was using the catastrophic forest fire as an excuse to pass a harmful logging bill. HR 1526, the so-called Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act written by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), would mandate that logging more than double in national forests and would require foresters to show that they had met certain timber quotas without regard for whether the forests involved were habitats for threatened species or whether they were in supposedly protected roadless areas.
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