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article imageLargest wildfire in Los Angeles' history forces evacuations

By Karen Graham     Sep 2, 2017 in Environment
The unofficial end of summer hasn't made a difference in the extreme heat that has been baking the western United States today, challenging crews battling wildfires all across the region.
While areas like SanFrancisco reached an unbelievable 115 degrees Fahrenheit today, the extreme heat forced the Bay Area Transit System to run their trains at a slower speed so engineers could see any warped tracks ahead of them.
The heat has not helped the several hundred firefighters battling a brush fire in the Verdugo Mountains north of downtown Los Angeles that has burned more than 5,000 acres, (2,023-hectares) making it one of the largest fires in the city’s history and one that officials warn could grow larger if erratic weather conditions continue.
Los Angeles Fire Department
At one point during the night, the fire was spreading in four directions because of the erratic winds and intense heat. The fire has been dubbed the La Tuna Fire, based on the canyon where it broke out Friday. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a press conference Saturday that 300 homes in Burbank and 180 homes in Los Angeles were under evacuation orders. So far, only one home has been lost and there have been no reported injuries.
“Our priority is saving people and saving property,” Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas told reporters. Both Terrazas and Garcetti said the La Tuna fire was the largest in the city’s history in terms of acreage. “We can’t recall anything larger,” Terrazas said.
Los Angeles Fire Department
As of Saturday night, three evacuation centers had been set up, including the McCambridge Park Recreation Center, 1515 N. Glenoaks Blvd., in Burbank; the Sunland Recreation Center in the 8600 block of Foothill Boulevard in Sunland; and Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave.
Fire warnings are in effect for Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana, where fires have spanned more than 850 square miles (2,200 square kilometers). In the Pacific Northwest, high temperatures and a lack of rain have dried out all the vegetation that had fed on all the springtime rains.
A wildfire 80 miles (129 kilometers) southeast of Seattle has burned more than 23 square miles (60 square kilometers), resulting in more evacuations. Over 3,800 homes are now in danger. And Tropical Storm Lidia isn't helping the weather forecast any, either. More heat is on the way as remnants of the storm move north from Mexico's Baja California.
More about Wildfire, Los angeles, over 5K acres, La Tuna Fire, heat and winds
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