Wildfire news, November 19, 2008

Photos of southern California fires

The Lassie, Get Help blog has some great photos of the fires in southern California.

600 people evacuate from fire in Hawaii

A vegetation fire on the island of Lanai caused 600 people to evacuate from a hotel and begin to flee the island by boats. The 300 acre fire, pushed by 40 mph winds, threatened the Four Seasons Resort and other areas on the island.

At least four boats loaded with evacuees left the island headed for Maui and Lahaina, but the fire situation eased and the boats were later recalled.

The five firefighters on Lanai had their hands full with this fire. They were eventually joined by 16 firefighters from other islands.

Students’ bonfire caused Tea fire


Firefighters working on the Tea fire on the Westmont College campus gather their equipment.

The Santa Barbabra County Sheriff’s office said that an abandoned bonfire built by a group of students caused the Tea fire near Montecito and Santa Barbara. The fire destroyed 210 homes, injured 20 people, and burned about 2,000 acres.

A tipster led investigators to the bonfire where 10 people had been partying in an area known as the “Tea House” the night before the fire started. About 13 hours after the students left, embers remaining in the bonfire, encouraged by winds that gusted to 70 mph, started the Tea fire which was reported at 5:45 p.m.

The students left the area between 3 and 5 a.m. Thursday and thought they had extinguished the fire. All ten of the men and women, aged 18-22, who attended the bonfire have been identified by investigators, but their names and the school they attend have not been released. Prosecutors are deciding whether to charge them with crimes.

Westmont College, a Christian university with 1,200 students, sits immediately below the mountain ridge where the Teahouse is located. The fire burned through the campus, destroying the Psychology building, Math building, Physics building and three dozen Clark Hall dorm rooms. The off-campus homes of 14 professors also burned.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.