The Latest: Homeless camp fire sparked Los Angeles blaze

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2017 11:12 PM
The Latest: Homeless camp fire sparked Los Angeles blaze

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Authorities say a wildfire that destroyed six homes and damaged a dozen more last week in the exclusive Bel Air section of Los Angeles was sparked by an illegal cooking fire in a homeless encampment.

City fire spokesman Erik Scott said Tuesday that investigators found the campsite in some brush near Sepulveda Boulevard where it passes under Interstate 405.

No one was in the camp, and no arrests have been made.

Scott says fire officials didn't know about the camp but beginning next fire season they plan to start looking for such encampments and will notify police.

The fire near the world-famous Getty museum was one of several burning simultaneously in the LA area last week that forced thousands to evacuate.

The causes of the other fires remain under investigation.

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2:20 p.m.

Members of California's congressional delegation, led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have met with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the state's massive wildfires.

The House lawmakers say they talked to Pence about efforts to contain the fires and the federal government's work to coordinate the response to their growth.

Rep. Ken Calvert, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, says the federal government will work to help ensure after the wildfires that the affected areas have debris removal and watershed protection.

The meeting also included Reps. Salud Carbajal, Steve Knight, Julia Brownley and Darrell Issa.

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5:45 a.m.

Southern California's huge wildfire continues to rip through dry brush atop a coastal ridge as crews struggle to keep flames from roaring down into neighborhoods.

Firefighters protected foothill homes near Santa Barbara, taking advantage of calmer overnight winds that forecasters say could whip up again Tuesday.

Officials express relief that much of the fire's growth is occurring to the north in unoccupied forest land but warn that the seaside towns of Montecito and Carpinteria and Fillmore in Ventura County remain at risk. Tens of thousands remain evacuated.

Poor air quality is keeping many schools closed. As ash rains down and smoke blows through streets, regulators are urging people to remain inside if possible and avoid strenuous activity.

The fire, now the fifth largest in California history, is just 20 percent contained.