As the winds of October continue to buffet the state, brush fires have broken out across Southern California, forcing mass evacuations, closing major freeways, and threatening the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

The cycle of fire began Wednesday morning when flames surrounded the library and museum in Simi Valley and stalked nearby neighborhoods as it swiftly scorched hundreds of acres in Ventura County. As the day wore on and the winds howled, more than a dozen other smaller fires erupted in communities including Riverside, Santa Clarita, Brea, Whittier, Lancaster, Calabasas, Long Beach, Nuevo and Jurupa Valley.

The outlook was brighter in Northern California, where thousands of evacuees began to return home as firefighters started to gain the upper hand on the wine country blaze that has scorched more than 76,000 acres and burned dozens of homes.

The biggest battle Wednesday was in Ventura County, where 800 firefighters trying to control the wind-whipped fire surrounding the presidential library were stymied by intense gusts that sent embers flying far beyond the body of the blaze. Helicopters repeatedly dropped loads of water around the Reagan complex, which is perched atop a hill blanketed in dense brush, amid 60-mph winds that were strong enough to knock a person off balance.

It turns out a contributing factor in the successful protection of this historic complex is the use of goats to graze on the brush.

Library spokeswoman Melissa Giller said the Ventura County Fire Department brings hundreds of goats every May to eat the brush around the perimeter of the library to create a fire break.

“The firefighters on the property said that the fire break really helped them because as the fire was coming up that one hill, all the brush has been cleared, basically,” she said.

Once I read that the Reagan Library was threatened, I braced myself for some liberal snark regarding the institution and the historic presidency. I was not disappointed.

CNN Commentator Keith Boykin initially tweeted an link to the story with the comment: “For those who think God punishes sinners with natural disasters”. In the wake of receiving an epic ratio, Boykin deleted the comment, explaining that we readers were confused about his intent.

Of course, climate alarmists and Reagan haters had to chime in with their digs as well.

Good to see that progressives continue to act with the level of discretion and dignity we have come to expect.

I sure hope that the library remains safe. In addition to all the wonderful, historic treasures and the Reagans’ burial site, there is an exhibit on Egypt’s Lost Cities I have every intention of seeing there during the upcoming holiday season.

 
 
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