New wildfire erupts east of LA; Reagan library survives blaze

A home on Tigertail Road in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles was among at least eight destroyed in the Getty Fire this week. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Oct. 31 (UPI) — California’s busy fire season grew worse Thursday when a new blaze started east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino, quickly charring 200 acres and forcing residents to evacuate.

The Hillside Fire began early Thursday on the northern end of San Bernardino, officials said, and multiple homes near the Waterman Canyon area caught fire. San Bernardino is about 50 miles due east of Los Angeles.

Strong winds have spread the flames, as they have done for at least 10 fires burning statewide — including the Getty and Easy fires closer to Los Angeles.

Firefighters fought Wednesday to protect the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif. from the Easy Fire, which approached the historical property from a nearby hillside. The fire has so far burned more than 1,500 acres and is just 5 percent contained, Cal Fire said.

Officials said a change in wind speed and direction helped save the library from approaching flames — as well as a herd of goats.

“We actually worked with the Ventura County Fire Department in May and they bring out hundreds of goats to our property,” Melissa Giller, a spokeswoman for the Reagan library, said. “The goats eat all of the brush around the entire property, creating a fire perimeter.”

Water-carrying helicopters also made repeated water drops behind the library, which opened in 1991 and is the resting place for the former president, who died in 2004, as well as former first lady Nancy Reagan, who died in 2016.

The Getty Fire, which began Tuesday on the west side of downtown Los Angeles, has burned nearly 800 acres and is nearly 40 percent contained, fire officials said Wednesday night.

“The Getty Fire Incident Command continues to monitor the affected fire areas, as well as those areas remaining closed due to critical infrastructure concerns or safety hazards,” the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

“The Los Angeles Police Department will have a strong presence in the repopulated and evacuated areas for the next several days to ensure the protection of residents and their property.”

The Kincade Fire in Sonoma County has burned more than 76,000 acres so far and is 45 percent contained. The Tick Fire in Los Angeles County has grown to 4,600 acres, but is nearly 100 percent under control.


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