Fire Alert

Mar 29, 2010 1:28 PM

Ventura County wildfire caused by mulch combustion

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) - Ventura County authorities have determined that a wildfire that burned across 17,500 acres last September was caused by spontaneous combustion in a mulch pile.

The county Fire Department says in a statement Monday that the fire spread from the agricultural mulch pile to a hillside and then grew quickly.

More than 2,500 firefighters, hundreds of fire engines and nearly 30 helicopters and air tankers were needed to fight the blaze as it charred 27 square miles. Despite its size, only two small outbuildings were destroyed.

Authorities say fires in mulch piles, compost heaps and manure piles can occur if the piles are not regularly turned to prevent buildup of heat.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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