PHOTOS: New wildfire threatens Reagan Presidential Library and surrounding communities

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan's Air Force One sits on display at the Reagan Presidential Library as the Easy Fire burns in the hills on Oct. 30, 2019 in Simi Valley, California. (Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

A fresh wildfire is burning on a ridge near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California's Simi Valley city, forcing officials to order evacuations of the library and nearby homes and close schools.

Firefighting aircraft were dropping liquid in the area in a bid the stop the fire, CNN's Bill Weir reported from the scene.

"The flames are licking right up the hills, right up to the parking lot," library Executive Director John Heubusch told CNN affiliate KLTA. "I think the parking lot will save the library."

Named the Easy Fire, the blaze -- one of several California wildfires burning in dry and windy conditions -- began Wednesday morning in the hills near Simi Valley and already has burned 972 acres, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

This photo from video provided by KTLA-TV shows the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as flames from the Easy fire approach in Simi Valley, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019. (KTLA-TV via AP)

Aerial video from CNN affiliate KABC showed a long line of fire burning on a ridge in the hillsides, parts of which were near the library and a residential neighborhood. Thick smoke rose from the flames.

Simi Valley police ordered evacuations of the library -- which also hosts the graves of the nation's 40th president and first lady Nancy Reagan -- and homes along a few nearby streets, police watch commander Adam Darough said.

A skeleton library staff -- including security workers, the library director, the facility manager, and the head curator -- remained at the facility, trying to protect what they can, including artifacts and photographs, library spokeswoman Melissa Giller said.

Giller said a "fire break" area -- a zone where vegetation has been eaten up by goats that the county fire department brings in yearly for that purpose -- exists between the library property and the fire.

Ranchers evacuate horses in a burning ranch as the Easy Fire spreads near Simi Valley, North of Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

"We feel really safe. I know the way the winds are shifting, fire is unpredictable and it is moving very quickly but ... if the flames do crest, the fire break exists," Giller said.

The library houses Reagan's presidential and California gubernatorial records, as well as the couple's personal effects, including most of Nancy Reagan's dresses dating back to the 1950s and her wedding ring.

The Simi Valley Unified School District closed all schools Wednesday because of the fire threat. (AP)

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A helicopter drops water to protect the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library during the Easy Fire in Simi Valley, Calif. on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Workers try to extinguish smoldering embers on a ranch during the Easy Fire in Simi Valley, Calif. on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Marine One stands on display in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as smoke rises outside during the Easy Fire in Simi Valley, Calif. on Oct. 30, 2019.  (Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
A woman flees Castle Rock Farms with her horse as the Easy fire approaches October 30, 2019 in Simi Valley, California. Fueled by the Santa Ana winds, the fire has quickly spread to 1300 acres. (Photo: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Firefighters and workers try to extinguish smoldering embers on a ranch during the Easy Fire in Simi Valley, Calif. on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The Easy Fire burns in Simi Valley, Calif., on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Justin L. Stewart/ZUMA Wire)
People flee Castle Rock Farms as the Easy fire approaches Oct. 30, 2019 in Simi Valley, California. Fueled by the Santa Ana winds, the fire has quickly spread to 1300 acres. (Photo: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A statue of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan titled "Along The Trail" stands outside the Reagan Presidential Library as the Easy Fire burns on Oct. 30, 2019 in Simi Valley, California. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Firefighters battle to protect the Reagan Library from the Easy Fire in Simi Valley, Calif. on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)
Smoke from wildfires burning in the region fills the air as a horse runs at a ranch in Simi Valley, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)
A road is closed to traffic as the Easy Fire burns in Simi Valley, California, on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Justin L. Stewart/ZUMA Wire)
Horses are seen at a ranch in Simi Valley, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019. A large new wildfire has erupted in wind-whipped Southern California, forcing the evacuation of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and nearby homes. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)
A firefighter battles a wildfire near a ranch in Simi Valley, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019. The large new wildfire erupted in wind-whipped Southern California, forcing the evacuation of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and nearby homes.(Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan's Air Force One sits on display at the Reagan Presidential Library as the Easy Fire burns in the hills on Oct. 30, 2019 in Simi Valley, California. (Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Horses are evacuated from a ranch in Simi Valley, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. A large new wildfire has erupted in wind-whipped Southern California, forcing the evacuation of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and nearby homes. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)
Horses are seen at a ranch as smoke fills the sky in Simi Valley, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)
Firefighters battle to protect area around the Reagan Library from the Easy Fire in Simi Valley, California on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)
Alejandro Garrido sprays a water hose at a horse ranch as smoke from wildfires burning in the region fills the air in Simi Valley, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019. A brush fire broke out just before dawn in the Simi Valley area north of Los Angeles. (Photo: Christian Monterrosa/AP)
Smoke from wildfires burning in the region fills the air in Simi Valley, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. A brush fire broke out just before dawn in the Simi Valley area north of Los Angeles. (Photo: Christian Monterrosa/AP)
Strong winds drive the Easy Fire on Oct. 30, 2019 near Simi Valley, California. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)
Horses are tended to under smoke from wildfires burning in the region at a ranch in Simi Valley, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Christian Monterrosa/AP)
A firefighter battles a wildfire near a ranch in Simi Valley, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019. A large new wildfire has erupted in wind-whipped Southern California, forcing the evacuation of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and nearby homes. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)
Volunteers help evacuate horses during the Easy Fire, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, in Simi Valley, Calif. (Photo: Christian Monterrosa/AP)
A rancher tries to put out a fire in a henhouse in a burning ranch as the Easy Fire spreads near Simi Valley, North of Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Smoke engulfs around the Ronald Reagan Library during the Easy Fire, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, in Simi Valley, Calif. (Photo: Christian Monterrosa/AP)
A resident watches from the side of the road the Easy Fire spreading in Simi Valley, North of Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
A worker wets the ground in a ranch as the Easy Fire spreads in Simi Valley, North of Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Ranchers evacuate horses in a burning ranch as the Easy Fire spreads near Simi Valley, North of Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo: Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

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