Calif Heat Brings out Invasion of
VENTURA, Calif. (AP) -- Wildfires aren't the only
thing firefighters are coping with these days: the brutal
heat wave has driven snakes, rodents, spiders and other
pests into homes and frightened residents are calling
fire departments for help.
``We're averaging between two to eight calls a day for
snakes, usually in ... areas that interface with
wildlands. There's tarantulas around, too,'' fire
spokeswoman Sandi Wells said Tuesday.
Ventura College student Nina Delorme came face-to-face
with a rattlesnake in the bathroom on Monday.
``I freaked out,'' she said. ``I started screaming and
Ventura County firefighters captured the snake and
decapitated it with a shovel, a common method of dealing
``We don't relocate snakes in L.A. County. We kill
them,'' said inspector Ed Loney of the Los Angeles County
Fire Department, which also reported a rise in calls.
Officials say the heat may be bringing them inside homes,
but El Nino is being blamed for dumping heavy winter rain
that caused more vegetation and a burgeoning pest
Frank Blair, fire division chief of Camp Pendleton, said
he's never seen so many pests to control in the rural
stretch of San Diego County.
``I think it's because of the rain,'' Blair said Tuesday.
``There are more spider webs inside and outside. There
are more bees and a lot more snakes. They're
Temperatures have been in the 100s and lightning has
touched off dozens of wildfires across Southern
California, destroying 26 homes and burning across 30,000