independent: As many as 50,000 Californians have been told to evacuate their homes as wildfires spread across the state – with the latest blaze towering over Santa Clarita and the canyons north of Los Angeles.
Spurred on by the dry 55mph gusts of the Santa Ana winds the flames have pushed through to LA-area neighbourhoods, razing six homes and threatening to prompt further outages across the region over the weekend.
The Los Angeles County fire department said the blaze, dubbed the Tick fire, broke out and spread across 4,000 acres of the Santa Clarita region in the space of a few hours.
Alejandro Corrales was among those forced to watch her home burn from afar – taking with it her mother’s ashes, other belongings and possibly a pen full of pet sheep.
“You start thinking about all the things you can’t get back,” she told KCBS-TV. “Everything in the house is gone.
“The panels on one of the pens where we have some rescued sheep was too hot for my daughter to open and so she couldn’t let them out … so I’m probably sure that we lost them, too.”
Footage from the Santa Clarita region showed flames towering over houses from the surrounding hills as people rushed to evacuate at the last possible moment.
The Tick fire is one of four in the Los Angeles area and among several reaching across the US state – with similar infernos in the north including the 16,000 acre Kincade fire in Sonoma County, where 49 buildings were burned.
A series of blazes tore through the same area two years ago, killing 44 people. So far no injuries related to the latest wildfires have been reported.
In a separate spate of fires earlier this month at least one person was confirmed to have died following in the San Fernando valley.
The fires are also accompanied by intentional power cuts, causing further disruption to residents. The shutdowns are designed to prevent fierce winds from hurling branches into power lines or toppling them, sparking further wildfires.
Supplier Southern California Edison, which cut power to more than 31,000 customers on Thursday, said it was considering additional outages likely to affect about 386,000 customers.
Damaged power lines may have led to an outbreak of fire in Geyserville, with the state’s largest power firm PG&E saying it was investigating after a 230,000-volt transmission line malfunctioned minutes before the blaze began.
PG&E chief executive Bill Johnson said it was too soon to know if the faulty equipment started the fire, while authorities are yet to confirm the cause of any of the outbreaks across the state.
Source: Published by independent