Ventura County hot spot puzzles experts:D
The hot spot in Los Padres National Forest is attended to by firefighters, who first responded the area a month and a half ago when observers noticed a haze of smoke, but no flames, rising from the parched scrub.
A two-acre patch of land north of Fillmore has heated up to 800 degrees, and firefighters and geologists are unsure why.
A patch of land in Ventura County's section of Los Padres National Forest where the ground recently heated up to 812 degrees continues to puzzle firefighters and geologists after weeks of monitoring.
"It's a thermal anomaly," said Ron Oatman, spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.
MapFirefighters responded to reports of a blaze there a month and a half ago, when observers noticed smoke rising from the parched scrub. But when they arrived, they found no flames.
Firefighters and geologists who have surveyed the area in the Sespe Oil Field are uncertain what's causing the heat, but they do have a theory.
Allen King, a retired geologist with the U.S. Forest Service who went to the site Friday, said the smoking ground is "a normal occurrence" that does not appear to be the result of human activity.
The hot spot is in an area considered to be an active landslide that has shifted for more than 60 years. Several hundred feet below its cracked surface lie pockets of gas, tar and oil.
King said he suspects cracks along the landslide's slope allow oxygen to enter into the earth and hydrocarbon material to "seep out" of the fine-grain shale. The combination can create underground combustion, he said.