Another fire broke out in Southern California on Wednesday, prompting mandatory evacuations from residential neighborhoods and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the largest presidential library in the nation. According to the Associated Press, the fire just missed the presidential library, with the facility protected by a firebreak in the brush. A group of firefighters and helicopters also aided in protecting the property, bolstering the facility's fire defenses like fireproof doors, sprinklers, and an underground vault.
John Heubusch, executive director of the library, told CBS LA earlier Wednesday that the fire is “encircling” the museum’s Air Force One Pavilion. Former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are buried next to each other on a hillside at the library. “The flames are licking right up the hills, right up to the parking lot,” Heubusch told KTLA. “I think the parking lot will save the library.”
The fire, named the Easy fire, is burning about 50 miles northeast of Los Angeles in Simi Valley and threatening thousands of homes. The fire broke out around 6 a.m. PT and burned about 250 acres in the first hour, according to Ventura County Fire Captain Brian McGrath. By the afternoon, it had burned nearly 1,300 acres. One structure was destroyed, and about 6,500 homes are still in danger. “Right now we have all of our crews and engine companies that will be down of Tierra Rejada,” Ventura County Fire Capt. Dan Arnold told CBS2. “We have homes that are directly impacted that are requiring immediate structure defense.” It is not clear how the blaze started, but strong Santa Ana winds of about 30 mph are fueling flames in the hillside area.