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Tens of thousands evacuated as wildfires rage in California

There were no immediate reports of injury.

A firefighter prepares to fight a wildfire as it overtakes a home Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Santa Clarita, California.
A firefighter prepares to fight a wildfire as it overtakes a home Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Santa Clarita, California.
Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez via PA

OVER 50,000 PEOPLE were ordered to flee their homes north of Los Angeles on as a fast-moving wildfire driven by high winds erupted and raged out of control.

The so-called Tick Fire near Santa Clarita, about 65 kilometers north of Los Angeles, broke out in the early afternoon and quickly consumed 5,000 acres, fire officials said.

The blaze burned several homes and structures and forced the closure of a major highway and a number of roads, as some 500 firefighters backed by air tankers and helicopters battled the flames.

There were no immediate reports of injury.

“We are urging everybody to evacuate at this time,” a spokesman for the fire department said.

The fire erupted as much of the state was under a red flag warning because of gusty winds, high temperatures and low humidity which make for perfect conditions for wildfires.

In northern California wine country, some 2,000 people were ordered to evacuate after a brush fire erupted late on Wednesday, quickly growing from a blaze of a few hundred acres into a 16,000-acre inferno, California fire officials said.

About 500 responders battled the fire fed by wind gusts topping 70 miles per hour.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for the community of Geyserville and nearby vineyards after the fire started in a mountainous area and quickly spread, crossing a highway and moving toward homes, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.

“If you’re in Geyserville, leave now,” the sheriff’s office advised, citing an extraordinary threat to life and property.

Winds out of the north were driving the fire as firefighters struggled to save homes.

By early evening, the fire was five percent contained and several structures had burned, fire officials said. 

The blaze, 120 kilometers north of San Francisco, came amid official warnings that much of northern California and parts of the south were under imminent threat of fires into Friday because of blustery, dry weather and high temperatures.

Another brush fire in San Bernardino County, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, also prompted evacuation orders as it quickly burned 75 acres.

© – AFP 2019

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