Santa Barbara is located near the foot of the mountains and locals are often left with no other choice but to immediately retreat when a wildfire erupts.
In the north of Santa Barbara where the wildfire broke out on Dec 4, mountains stretch over 1,200 meters with no place for setting up any separation zone — making it rather difficult for anyone to stay in the vicinity.
Despite the ongoing winter holidays and upcoming celebrations, no one has been seen either along the west coast of the county — known for one of its popular beach resorts.
Hundred and ninety-two roads passing through Santa Barbara have been completely closed down. As of Tuesday morning, only 20 percent of the raging fire was brought under control, according to the local fire department.
But the wall of flames of the Thomas fire on Tuesday afternoon was about 200 yards away from and inching closer to expensive mansions in Montecito, one of the richest communities in the United States.
“It has burned down to some beautiful homes. We are asking residents to have defensible space, have a plan. When we ask you to evacuate it is for your own safety. We have already had one fatality very early on in the fire and we don’t want to lose any more people. I am happy to report that we haven’t had any more civilian injuries or deaths,” said California fire department spokesman Captain Steve Concialdi.
The Thomas fire, which broke out on Dec. 4 near the community of Ojai, has since spread 27 miles to become the fifth largest blaze in state history. It has blackened more than 366 square miles in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, an area larger than New York City.
“It’s pretty devastating. I mean, I’ve lived here for 25 years, been through quite a few fires, and this one I think has surpassed all those other experiences in terms of the devastation and the impact it’s had on the area. And there air, it’s just been phenomenal,” said Frank Palmieri, a bookkeeper from the city.
There’s bad stuff in the air. And, you don’t know what it’s doing to your body, so [I’m] wearing a mask now. But it feels awful, headaches, I get a little nauseous,” said Jamey Geston, a student at Santa Barbara City College.
Officials said that while the conflagration charred another 2,500 acres overnight, a break in the hot, dry Santa Ana winds on Tuesday sapped its forward momentum and allowed crews to prevent further damage to homes.
U.S., South Korea and Japan discuss military drills, North Korea denuclearization
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a bilateral meeting with South Korea’s President Jae-in at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji/Pool
SEOUL, South Korea – The top diplomats from United States, South Korea, and Japan promised on Thursday (June 14) to work together to ensure North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons programme after U.S President Donald Trump’s summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met in Seoul two days after Trump and Kim signed a statement agreeing to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Pompeo insisted that Pyongyang was committed to giving up its nuclear arsenal but said it would “be a process, not an easy one,” while Kono said he expects arrangements to be made for a summit between Japan and North Korea to resolve long-standing issues.- Reuters
China tells U.S. ‘now is the time’ if it wants peace with N. Korea
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold a joint news conference after their meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
A senior Chinese official told the United States on Wednesday (May 23) if it wants peace with North Korea now is the time for a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“I told our U.S. colleagues that if you want to solve the problem, now is the time. If you want peace, now is the time. If you want to make history, now is the time,” Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi told a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In an unrelated incident, news an American citizen working at the U.S. consulate in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has reported suffering from “abnormal” sounds and pressure leading to a mild brain injury, the U.S. embassy said.
The embassy, which issued a health alert to Americans living in China, said it could not link the case to health issues suffered by U.S. government staff in Cuba dating back to late 2016.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was concerned about the “serious medical incident” and raised it with China’s visiting State Councillor Wang Yi.
“We notified China of what took place as best we know it and they have responded in a way that is exactly the right response,” Pompeo told a news conference with Wang. “We’re working together to resolve (this) … I hope we can figure it out.”
The unnamed American citizen assigned to the consulate in Guangzhou had reported a variety of “physical symptoms” dating from late 2017 to April this year, the U.S. embassy in Beijing said in an email.
The worker was sent to the United States for further evaluation. “The clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI),” the embassy said.
The U.S. government in October expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States for what it said was Cuba’s failure to protect staff at the U.S. embassy in Havana from mysterious health incidents at one point thought to possibly have been acoustic “attacks”. — Reuters