California wildfires spread to 11,000 acres, near Los Angeles

July 24, 2016 2:36 am

A firefighter works the fast-growing wildfire east of Santa Clarita. (photos by LA Times)

Wildfires
in the west coast state of have spread to more than
11,000 acres in mountains north of Los Angeles as they continue to burn
out of control, threatening about 1,300 homes, officials say.

The
fast-moving fire was burning in the hillsides of Santa Clarita and
prompted hundreds of evacuations on Saturday with only 10-percent
containment as firefighters continued to battle the fire overnight,
local outlets reported.
“We
were experiencing 50- to 100-foot flame links running across these
ridges and down these slopes and doing the kind of things we normally
expect to see at 2 pm,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department
Battalion Chief Dennis Cross.

A helicopter drops water on the fast-growing wildfire east of Santa Clarita.

“It’s been a really tough fire and a really tough fire season so far,” he added.
This
is while southern California firefighters faced another day of
triple-digit heat from a dome of high pressure over the region, and as
Central Coast temperatures remained more moderate, conditions included
winds and low humidity.
Hundreds
of county and Angeles National Forest firefighters battled the fire,
aided by three dozen water-dropping helicopters and retardant-dropping
airplanes.

A water dropping helicopter makes a run as the Sand Fire burns in Santa Clarita.

“It just continues to move. It’s not slowing down,” county fire inspector Joey Marron emphasized late Friday.
Meanwhile, evacuation orders were in effect for homes in the Soledad Canyon along the 14 Freeway to Agua Dulce Canyon Road. Up to 300 homes in the Little Tujunga area, from Bear Divide to Gold Creek, were under mandatory evacuations.
Another 100 homes were evacuated Saturday, according to the Angeles National Forest’s Twitter.
Fire
crews were further concerned about the persisting high temperatures and
low humidity that could continue to fuel the fire, local reports said
as weather forecasters expected temperatures of about 108 degree in the
area by the afternoon.

Bushfires burned out of control in mountains north of Los Angeles and
near Big Sur on California’s scenic Central Coast, posing a threat to
2000 homes and a sanctuary for exotic animals that was being evacuated,
authorities said.
Southern California firefighters toiled in
another day of triple-digit heat from a dome of high pressure over the
region. While Central Coast temperatures were more moderate, conditions
included winds and low humidity.
The fire in northern Los Angeles
County grew to 8090ha, or more than 80 sq km, spreading smoke across
the city and suburbs, reducing the sun to an orange disk at times.
Containment was estimated at just 10 per cent.
The
South Coast Air Quality Management District warned that at times air
would reach unhealthy levels. Suburban Pasadena and Glendale closed
their municipal pools because of smoke and falling ash.

The fire erupted on Saturday in the Sand Canyon area of
suburban Santa Clarita near State Route 14 as the region was gripped by
high heat and very low humidity. Winds pushed it into the adjacent
Angeles National Forest.
The fire was a threat to 1000 homes, and
those communities were advised to pay attention to the news, Los
Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief John Tripp said. “But if we were to get
very extreme fire behaviour, we’re up to 45,000 homes … mainly down
in the San Fernando Valley.”
Neighbourhoods within the city of
Los Angeles lie along the so-called urban-wildland interface at the
northeast edge of the valley. Tripp said the Los Angeles fire chief was
ready to join the incident command, and 15 strike teams were put on
alert in case flames made a push in that direction.
Hundreds of
county and Angeles National Forest firefighters battled the blaze, aided
by three dozen water-dropping helicopters and retardant-dropping
airplanes.
About 400 animals were being evacuated from the
Wildlife Waystation, a nonprofit sanctuary for rescued exotic creatures
within the national forest. Over many years, the sanctuary has cared for
thousands of animals ranging from lions and tigers to primates and
exotic birds.
More than 220 horses, dozens of goats and other animals were taken from the fire area, animal control officials said.
About
480km up the coast, California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection firefighters battled a 25 sq km blaze in rugged mountains
north of the majestic Big Sur region.
The blaze 8km south of
Garrapata State Park posed a threat to about 1000 homes and the
community of Palo Colorado was ordered evacuated, Cal Fire said.
People
living in the Carmel Highlands north of the fire were told to be ready
to leave at a moment’s notice if an evacuation was called. More than 300
firefighters were on the lines.

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