On Christmas night in the hills north of Ventura a fire broke out and burned about 1200 acres, closing the 101 freeway below for much of the day. Fortunately none of the approximately 600 firefighters putting down the blaze were hurt. A great deal of concern remains about slide dangers this winter and spring, given that the hills — already sparsely vegetated — now look as barren as the moon:
But what stands out to me is the interesting fact that even though this fire started on an oilfield, apparently caused by a power pole going down in high winds, nonetheless the California Resources Corporation (a spin-off from Occidental Petroleum) would not allow fire officials and media access to the site in the aftermath.
I wonder why?
According to the Ventura County Star:
The burned oil field area is operated by California Resources Corp. [Ventura County Fire Captain Mike] Lindbery and another incident spokesman, Firefighter Andy Van Sciver, were leading a quartet of local newspaper and television personnel to ground zero of the area Sunday, but a company official asked the group to leave.
Amy Fonzo, a spokeswoman for CRC, said in an email Sunday evening the group had been escorted off the private property for safety reasons.
“Any and all personnel who come onto the leases must go through a safety orientation, have personal protective equipment and have an escort from the company,” Fonzo wrote, adding it is unlikely that future tours of the burn areas will occur.
Translation: F*ck off media. This is typical of the way the CRC operates, at least in Ventura County — refer all inquiries to headquarters, and then refuse all comment. May I say I speak from experience.