Blaze Menaces Neverland – SBNP

[b]BLAZE MENACES NEVERLAND[/b] DAWN HOBBS, NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER August 26, 2006 6:53 AM Black smoke billowed from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch on Friday afternoon as a blaze charred more than 40 acres of the sprawling Los Olivos estate. The fire, which was fueled by light brush and grass, came within 200 yards of buildings, but more than 100 firefighters from Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Vandenberg Air Force Base and the U.S. Forest Service managed to keep it at bay. It’s not known how many animals were in the ranch zoo, which in the past has been home to a menagerie including elephants, giraffes, llamas and a camel, but authorities confirmed that none was evacuated. “The animals are being taken care of and there are no problems with them,” said county Fire Department Capt. Keith Cullom. By 7:30 p.m., the fire was fully contained. Investigators remained on scene until nightfall, attempting to determine what sparked the blaze that had firefighters hiking in over steep hills to stop it from spreading farther across the 2,600-acre ranch.