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Brush Fires Raging, Including One Near Reagan Ranch

August 24, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Hundreds of firefighters battled six brush and timber fires today, including one 15 miles east of President Reagan’s ranch, where he is vacationing, authorities said.

An estimated 2,700 acres were burned by five Southern California fires and one in the eastern Sierra Nevada that was expected to be contained today. No injuries were reported, and only one home was damaged.

In Santa Barbara County, a fire that started Sunday afternoon burned about 200 acres east of Reagan’s ranch, said Kathy Good, fire information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.

Ms. Good said the blaze, about seven miles north Santa Barbara, posed no danger to the president’s mountaintop ranch about 20 miles northwest of the city.

″It’s not close at all,″ to the president’s home, she said.

An undetermined number of campers were evacuated from Santa Ynez Campground, about two miles from the blaze. Calm winds were helping about 200 firefighters battle the blaze, the cause of which was under investigation.

Further south, three brush fires within 20 miles of each other charred about 1,900 acres of brush in mountainous areas north of San Bernardino, and another burned about 100 acres in Los Angeles County.

Hot, dry conditions with temperatures in the 90s contributed to the spread of the fires.

About 600 firefighters from six agencies battled the San Bernardino blazes, joined by eight helicopters and more than a dozen air tankers, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Dave Behrens.

The largest of the three fires, near Lake Arrowhead, had burned 1,600 acres by late evening and spewed smoke and ash as far as Barstow, 70 miles away, Behrens said.

He estimated 75 to 100 people were evacuated from the Deep Creek recreational area near the fire. He said the blaze, in rugged, steep terrain, posed no threat to buildings but endangered wildlife and a trout spawning ground.

A fire in Waterman Canyon, north of San Bernardino, briefly threatened some homes and a Catholic youth camp and burned 200 acres, Behrens said. He said the third area fire, near Victorville, 30 miles north of San Bernardino, burned 80 acres of federal land along Interstate 15 before being contained.

The fire started after a bullet fired by a person target shooting apparently ricocheted and sent sparks into tinder-dry brush, Behrens said. ″That’s just how dry it is out there,″ he added.

Another fire burned 100 acres near Interstate 5 and Highway 138 in Gorman, 70 miles north of Los Angeles, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Bill Masten.

Meanwhile, officials ruled out arson as the cause of a 520-acre forest fire that forced the evacuation of 300 campers and threatened several expensive homes in the Sierra Nevada resort town of Mammoth Lakes.

Firefighters were beginning mop-up operations and expected to have the timber fire, burning two miles northeast of town, contained this morning, said Inyo National Forest information officer Margaret Gorski.

The fire started Saturday in a home on the outskirts of the town 250 miles north of Los Angeles. The home was destroyed but no other structures were burned, officials said.

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