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article imageLos Angeles wildfire spreads — 100,000 ordered to evacuate

By Karen Graham     Oct 11, 2019 in Environment
Whipped by the Santa Ana winds, a wildfire in the San Fernando Valley of California grew to nearly 5,000 acres overnight, damaging dozens of homes and prompting swift evacuations for more than 100,000 people.
The so-called Saddleridge Fire started Thursday night around 9:00 p.m. local time along the northern rim of the San Fernando Valley and almost immediately exploded from 60 acres to over 4,000 acres (1,619 hectares) overnight - jumping across the 210 and 5 freeways.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for all of Porter Ranch and Oakridge Estates. Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said the fire had grown to more than 7 square miles (18 square kilometers) and at least 25 homes had been damaged, reports the Associated Press.
Terrazas said that the wildfire was fed by sustained winds of 20-25 mph (32-40 kph) with gusts over 50 mph (80 kph) and relative humidity levels had fallen as low as 3 percent. “As you can imagine the embers from the wind have been traveling a significant distance which causes another fire to start,” Terrazas said.
The Weather Channel
There are over 1,000 firefighters on the scene today and they are expected to be fighting the blaze for days to come. At least 10 schools are closed today as a result of the fire and California State University Northridge, which has about 30,000 undergraduate students, announced that its campus would be closed Friday due to the fire.
Utility companies using preventive blackouts
On Thursday, power companies began expanding fire-prevention blackouts to the southern part of the state. In Northern California, utilities are using rolling blackouts that affect about 2 million people to prevent faulty power lines from sparking wildfires amid strong winds and low humidity.
Southern California Edison said Thursday night that it had begun shutting off power to about 45,000 people across its service area. The utility said that while power has not been cut off to Calimesa, that parts of the community were in an area where such blackouts might be necessary this week.
Meanwhile, about 300,000 residents remain without electricity in Northern California after Pacific Gas & Electric intentionally cut power to prevent wildfires caused by high winds downing live power equipment.
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