California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communities

California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communitiesBy Phoenix Tso SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Reuters) - A massive California wildfire that has already destroyed nearly 800 structures scorched another 56,000 acres on Sunday, making it the fifth largest such blaze in recorded state history, as it ran toward picturesque coastal cities.But fire officials said as darkness fell that with the hot, dry Santa Ana winds not as fierce as expected, crews had been successful in building some fire lines between the flames and the towns of Montecito and Carpinteria. "This is a menacing fire, certainly, but we have a lot of people working very diligently to bring it under control," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told an evening press conference.



California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communities

California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communitiesBy Phoenix Tso SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Reuters) - A raging wildfire pushed toward a string of California coastal cities on Sunday, prompting new evacuations as crews fought to save homes in the face of gusty winds that have fueled blazes across the state for nearly a week. Authorities ordered residents in parts of Carpinteria and Montecito to leave early on Sunday as the Thomas Fire edged closer to Santa Barbara, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Los Angeles on the scenic central California coast. The blaze, the worst of six major fires in Southern California in the last week and already the 10th largest on record in the state since 1932, has blackened 173,000 acres (62,726 hectares), destroyed hundreds of structures and left nearly 90,000 homes and businesses without power.



Roy Moore campaign casts Alabama race as referendum on Trump

Roy Moore campaign casts Alabama race as referendum on TrumpBy Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The campaign of Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for U.S. senator in Alabama who has been accused of sexual misconduct, appealed on Sunday to President Donald Trump's supporters, saying a vote for Moore would be a vote for Trump's agenda. In the final days before Tuesday's special election, opinion polls show a tight race between Moore, a 70-year-old conservative Christian and former state judge, and Democrat Doug Jones, a 63-year-old former U.S. attorney. Dean Young, chief political strategist for Moore, cast Jones as a liberal who would vote against Trump's priorities such as building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and cutting taxes.



California firefighters make gains ahead of strong winds

California firefighters make gains ahead of strong windsFirefighters across Southern California made progress on Saturday battling a slew of scattered wildfires that have killed at least one person, destroyed hundreds of buildings and forced more than 200,000 people from their homes this week. As the dry Santa Ana winds that have fueled the blazes abated slightly, officials lifted evacuation orders for parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and crews started getting the upper hand in containing some major fires. “We’re far from being out of the woods on any of them,” Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), told a news briefing in Ventura.



California wildfire responders lose their own homes: 'It's sobering'

California wildfire responders lose their own homes: 'It's sobering'By Ben Gruber VENTURA, Calif. (Reuters) - California sheriff's Commander Dave Murray, usually the guy who helps others evacuate when wildfires rage through their communities, this week surveyed the charred ruins of his own home in a neighborhood north of Los Angeles. "You never believe that it’s going to be your house, your stuff, you treasures that are going to be turned to rubble," Murray said on Friday, visibly shaken. "It’s sobering." The six major wildfires that erupted throughout Southern California in the past week have killed at least one person, destroyed hundreds of buildings, forced more than 200,000 people to flee and choked the air across much of the region.





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