News Wrap: Fast-Moving Wildfires Reach Pacific Ocean in California
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KWAME HOLMAN: A fast-moving and fast-growing California wildfire reached the Pacific Ocean today. And so far, firefighters have it only 10 percent contained. The gusting winds and hot, dry weather of yesterday gave way to cooler breezes today, but the Springs fire still forced thousands out of their homes.
CARSON DOHAN, California: The fire was really close to us, and we decided to just water our house down. And then it got dark out and we couldn’t breathe because of the smoke, so we just left.
WOMAN: We just lost everything, our spa, my cat. Everything is gone.
KWAME HOLMAN: Overnight, the blaze grew to more than 15 square miles as unseasonable Santa Ana winds blew toward the coast at 20 to 30 miles an hour with gusts up to 45.
CAPT. MIKE LINDBERRY, Ventura County Fire Department: Our field moistures are already up to the levels they should be in July. We’re having Santa Ana events in May, which is — an event like this is — it hasn’t happened in my career. I think we may be looking at a very significant fire season.
KWAME HOLMAN: The brush-fueled fire first erupted early yesterday near Camarillo, Calif., 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles. And smaller fires raged east of L.A. in Riverside County. The skies around the city last night were lit up with a molten glow.
MAN: It’s just amazing to see how many fire — fire trucks going up and down, and they’re doing a good job. We’re just hoping that everything will be OK.
KWAME HOLMAN: After damaging homes, R.V.s and closing a university, the fire today tracked south to the Pacific, crossing the Pacific Coast Highway and moving toward a Naval base.
MAN: Ready for water!
KWAME HOLMAN: Nearly 1,000 firefighters were battling the blaze on the ground today, and tankers dumped water and retardant from the air.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ordered customs officials to check the validity of all international student visas in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. The order came in an internal memo obtained by the Associated Press. The checks are effective immediately and mark the first U.S. government security change related to the bombings.
A student from Kazakhstan accused of hiding evidence for one of the bombing suspects was allowed back into the U.S. without a valid visa in January.
The surviving suspect in the Boston bombings told officials the original date for the attack was the Fourth of July. Law enforcement officials spoke on the condition of anonymity, as the investigation is ongoing. They said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said he and his brother finished the pressure cooker bombs earlier than expected, so switched their target to the Boston Marathon.
In Pakistan today, gunmen killed the lead prosecutor investigating the assassination of the country’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali was shot at least 13 times in Islamabad as he was driving to court. His car was riddled with bullets. The gunmen fled in a taxi and on motorcycle. Ali was prosecuting militants jailed in connection with Benazir Bhutto’s 2007 death in a gun attack and suicide bombing.
President Obama made an urgent appeal for immigration reform during a visit to Mexico City today. At least six million Mexicans are believed to be living in the U.S. illegally. Today, the president told a crowd of college students he’s convinced that, working with Congress, they can overhaul the U.S. immigration system this year.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The immigration system we have in the United States right now doesn’t reflect our values. It separates families when we should be reuniting them. It’s led millions of people to live in the shadows. It deprives us of the talents of so many young people, even though we know that immigrants have always been the engine of our economy, starting some of our greatest companies and pioneering new industries.
KWAME HOLMAN: President Obama also conceded the root of much of Mexico’s violence is the demand for illegal drugs in the U.S. The president also acknowledged that most guns used to commit crime in Mexico come from the U.S.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Judy.