Santa Barbara ‘Lake Fire’ Prompts Evacuation Warnings, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Threatened


Southern California firefighters are trying to get a grip on raging wildfires, with the fast-moving Lake Fire near Santa Barbara exploding to more than 13,000 acres with zero percent containment.

Evacuation orders have been issued to residents near the fire, which is threatening homes, including Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, officials said.

The Lake Fire began around 3:45 pm Saturday and charred more than 300 acres of land in the Los Padres National Forest in its first few hours. 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has issued evacuation orders for areas around Figueroa Mountain Road to the Forest Station to Chamberlin Ranch, as well as areas north of Zaca Lake Road, east of Foxen Canyon Road and south of the Sisquoc River, according to the Santa Barbara Independent

Scott Safechuck, a Santa Barbara Fire Department spokesman, said temperatures had reached 90 degrees and relative humidity was nine percent in the fire area as of last night. Temps are expected to be high again today.

‘A large number of fire resources are on scene and responding to this rapidly developing wildfire. Firefighters are aggressively suppressing the fire. The communities and resources affected are a top priority,’ the federal government’s Incident Information System website read.

The Lake Fire is one of 21 wildfires burning in California on Sunday, CAL FIRE said.

Temperatures broke numerous records on Saturday: Reading, California, had a record high of 119 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking its all-time record high of 118, and Livermore, east of San Francisco, hit 111 F, breaking the daily maximum temperature record of 109 F set more than a century ago in 1905.

Las Vegas tied its record of 115 F, last reached in 2007, and Phoenix topped out at 114 F, just shy of the record of 116 F, dating to 1942.

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