California Fire Prompts Nearly 13,000 Evacuations, Threatens Homes and Thousands of Acres


Jerry Rowe uses a garden hose to save his home on Beaufait Avenue from the Saddleridge fire in Granada Hills, Calif., Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

Santa Ana winds of up to 60 miles per hour helped the Saddleridge Fire jump two freeways and grow to more than 1,600 acres with zero containment by 1 a.m. Friday, the Los Angeles Fire Department confirmed. By late Thursday it had gutted 60 acres; but some four hours later, it had grown to 4,600 acres, fire officials said.

A number of colleges and other schools have closed Friday because of the fire, including California State University Northridge and Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar.

Dynamic fires are rapidly moving toward residential areas in southern California on Friday.

The Saddleridge fire made a rapid advance from Sylmar to Porter Ranch, outrunning firefighters and emergency officials.

The LAPD said 23,000 homes and 100,000 people are impacted by mandatory evacuation orders. With winds expected to subside by Friday afternoon, roughly 270,000 more customers are slated to receive power before the weekend.

Wildfires from the Saddleridge Fire in northern California are seen from the air, October 10 2019. Both directions of the Foothill Freeway from the Golden State Freeway to the Ronald Reagan Freeway and the northbound Golden State Freeway's truck route in Sylmar were closed due to the fire for an unknown duration, the CHP said.

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Much of Northern California, from San Francisco to the OR border, remains under a state "red flag" fire alert.

LAFD reports the fire is at 0% containment, with more than 1,000 firefighters assigned to combat it. Personnel from the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service are on the scene, helping with the effort.

It started when the load on a garbage truck caught on fire and spread to vegetation, Capt. Fernando Herrera of Cal Fire Riverside told CNN affiliate KABC.

Current evacuation zones-which include Porter Ranch North of 118 Freeway, Oakridge Estates north of the 210 Freeway, and the area west of Balboa, north of Sesnon to the Ventura County border with DeSoto as the western border-and evacuation centers are available on the LAFD's website.

"It started just eating up vegetation as fast as the eye can see".

The risk to life and property prompted Pacific Gas and Electric Co. cut power to about 730,000 customers, a move that California Gov. Gavin Newsom blamed on years of mismanagement by the utility.