calcoastnews

(ATZ photo)

A South Coast zoo has raised more than a half million dollars to build a new, larger home for its lion. America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College has a five year old African Lion. More than 100 donors contributed money to the effort, with Moorpark College adding $200,000. The new enclosure is being named after the lion, and will be called Ira’s Kingdom.

(Ventura County Fire Department photo)

A congressional subcommittee is holding a hearing in Washington, D.C. Thursday on the Labor Day excursion boat accident in the Channel Islands which killed 34 people. The House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation is looking at the fire on board the Conception.

Firefighters are closing in on full containment of a nearly 10,000 acre brush fire in Ventura County. The Maria Fire is now 90% contained. The fire started Thursday night on South Mountain near Santa Paula, and at one point threatened about 1800 structures.

But, firefighters were able to stop the flames. Two structures have been confirmed destroyed.

By Saturday night, all evacuation orders were lifted. Firefighters are hoping to have full containment on Friday.

Firefighters say are getting a good handle on the 9400 acre Maria brush fire in Ventura County, prompting them to cancel all evacuation orders.

The fire is 30% contained as of Saturday night.  Officials say as crews firm of fire lines, they don't expect significant growth in the acreage before the blaze is fully contained.  But, getting to 100% containment is expected to take much of the coming week.

We are just a few weeks away from the first anniversary of a pair of disasters to hit Ventura County, and the entire region. November 7th was when the Borderline Bar And Grill attack occurred in Thousand Oaks, and November 8th is when the destructive Hill, and Woolsey Fire started in Ventura County. A Ventura County art museum is trying to add to the healing process, with a new exhibition featuring more than a half dozen artists looking at different aspects of empathy.

She’s a bright, cheery nine year old South Coast girl. But, Zelaya Guevara’s life has been anything but simple. The Ventura girl has spent most of her life battling leukemia. On Saturday, she’s trying to help others facing similar diseases.

(Photo Courtesy of Wilson Centre for Photography)

The world of photography has gone through huge changes in the last two decades, thanks to digital technology. The days of taking a roll of film to the drug store for processing are a thing of the past. Producing a photograph used to be a much more involved process, with darkrooms and chemicals. A new photography exhibition on the South Coast features some of the earliest photographs ever made.

(Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office photo)

National Transportation Safety Board investigators say crew members tried to get to trapped passengers of an excursion boat hit by fire in the Channel Islands, but couldn’t reach them.

They say the Conception's found that both hatches from the below-deck area to the deck were blocked by fire.  34 people died in the Labor Day fire.

Authorities say they’ve now recovered the bodies of 33 of the 34 people who died in an excursion boat fire in the Channel Islands this week, and the search continues for the last victim.  Meanwhile, a team of federal investigators interviewed a number of people Wednesday who were involved in the tragedy.

The South Coast’s largest annual community celebration kicks off Wednesday, and law enforcement officials say they are going to crack down on illegal food vendors. Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Celebration features two pop-up marketplaces which feature a wide range of food booths. Profits benefit dozens of non-profits. But, the five day long event has also historically attracted a flood of illegal street vendors.

A major winter storm hitting the Central and South Coasts that’s prompted some evacuations in Santa Barbara County is expected to hit in force Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Evacuation orders for high debris flow risk areas of the Thomas, Sherpa, and Whittier brush fire burn areas went into effect at four Tuesday afternoon.  A link to the evacuation areas is available here.

Nearly six months after it started, the destructive and deadly Thomas Fire was officially declared out on Friday.

The fire, which began December 4th, was fully contained in January. It’s been more than two months since the last hot spots were detected in the perimeter of the nearly 282,000 acre blaze, the largest in the state’s history.

Firefighters are hoping to get some help from the weather as they work to control a 230,000 acre brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties which has destroyed hundreds of homes.

The week long blaze has been fueled by Santa Ana winds and low humidity.  The wind has eased, but a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger for Ventura County which was expected to end Monday night has been extended to Wednesday.  There are no alerts for Santa Barbara County, but light wind is expected.