California fires rage in wine country and Los Angeles’ tony Westside
Firefighters on Monday began to get an upper hand on the fire that burned into exclusive neighborhoods in Los Angeles’ Westside while a much larger fire in Northern California’s wine country raged out of control.
The Getty fire, which started early Monday on the side of the 405 Freeway near Getty Center. It quickly spread to the south and west toward neighborhoods, rapidly burning more than 500 acres and sending people fleeing from their homes in the dark. About 10,000 structures have been placed under mandatory evacuation orders. Several homes were lost, and celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and LeBron James had to evacuate.
The evacuation zone was described by fire officials as a box: Mulholland Drive on the north side, the 405 Freeway on the east, Sunset Boulevard on the south and Temescal Canyon Road on the west.
Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said despite firefighters’ efforts, at least five homes, including some on Tigertail Road, have been damaged in the blaze. That number likely will climb in the coming hours.
Mayor Eric Garcetti urged residents to leave if they are under mandatory evacuation orders, saying some have had only 15 minutes to flee as the flames approached.
“Get out when we say get out,” he said, urging homeowners not to try to fight the fire with garden hoses. “The only thing you cannot replace is you and your family.”
The roughly 600 firefighters battling the blaze early Monday braced for a challenging fight as fire weather conditions are expected to worsen through the day. Pre-dawn, embers were being cast a mile ahead of the body of the fire amid moderate winds. Thick smoke was visible across the Los Angeles Basin.
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In Northern California, firefighters were bracing for another round of Diablo winds this week, days after monster winds topping 90 mph ripped through the area, making it difficult for officials to make any progress on the growing Kincade fire.
Santa Rosa residents were forced to evacuate in darkness early Sunday amid Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power outages, using flashlights and cellphones as light sources. The number of evacuated residences had increased to 185,000, said Jay Tracy, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection.
The fire grew almost 12,000 acres overnight into Monday and remained at just 5% containment as firefighters entered their fifth day battling the blaze. At least 96 structures have been destroyed, including 40 homes.
One firefighter suffered a minor burn and was taken by ambulance to a hospital, officials said Monday. Another who was burned more seriously was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. No deaths have been reported in the massive blaze.
Winds are expected to pick up again Tuesday and reach their peak in the evening, with gusts up to 70 mph, said Spencer Tangen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Overnight, the 66,231-acre Kincade fire swept south of the town of Windsor on Shiloh Ridge, where homes were burned, although it was unclear how many structures were lost. Many more remain threatened, according to Cal Fire officials.
“We’ve been chasing this fire for the last four days. We finally got the break in the weather,” Ben Nichols, a Cal Fire division chief, said during the morning briefing in Santa Rosa. “We have to get out there and get this thing buttoned up and put it to bed.”
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