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Authorities order 100,000 evacuated in California wildfire

Published:Friday | October 11, 2019 | 2:15 PM
The Saddleridge fire flares up near a firefighter in Sylmar, California, Thursday, October 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A wildfire raged out of control along the northern edge of Los Angeles early Friday, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes as firefighters battled flames from the air and on the ground.

Police Chief Michel Moore said about 100,000 people in over 20,000 homes were ordered to evacuate.

Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said the fire had grown to more than seven square miles and at least 25 homes had been damaged.

A middle-aged man who was near the fire went into cardiac arrest and died, the chief said, but he did not have details.

A death was also confirmed at an earlier wildfire east of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles blaze erupted around 9:00 p.m. Thursday along the northern tier of the San Fernando Valley as powerful Santa Ana winds swept through Southern California. Smoke streamed across the city and out to sea.

Terrazas said there were sustained winds of 20-25 miles per hour with gusts over 50 miles per hour and relative humidity levels had fallen as low as three per cent.

“As you can imagine the embers from the wind have been travelling a significant distance which causes another fire to start,” Terrazas said.

The fire erupted in Sylmar, the northernmost portion of the valley, and spread westward at a rate of 800 acres an hour into Granada Hills and Porter Ranch, where subdivisions crowd against the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains.

The cause wasn’t immediately known.

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