Hundreds of homes evacuated, and at least 18 destroyed, as massive wildfires tear through Southern California; one man found dead


 Hundreds of homes evacuated, and at least 18 destroyed, as massive wildfires tear through Southern California; one man found dead

24 July 2016

published by http://www.nydailynews.com


USA —    A pair of massive wildfires roared through California’s tinder-dry hills and canyons Sunday as authorities evacuated hundreds of homes before finding a burned body in one neighborhood ravaged by flames.

The body of a man was discovered in a burned vehicle Saturday evening outside a home in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles. The area was among those ordered evacuated amid searing flames that swept through brush dried from days of 100-degree temperatures as Southern California sweltered through a heat wave.

There was no evidence the death of the man in the car was crime-related, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Sunday as the investigation continued.

Wildfires have destroyed at least 18 houses and blackened a 31-square-mile area of brush on the edge of Santa Clarita and the Angeles National forest.

 About 300 miles up the coast, crews were battling another blaze across 10 square miles north of the rugged Big Sur region.

After flames driven by gusty winds swept through a Santa Clarita evacuated neighborhood, firefighters reported some buildings had been engulfed, but it was not immediately clear whether they were homes, said Nathan Judy, a spokesman for the U.S. Fire Service.

More than 900 firefighters and water-dropping helicopters battled the flames overnight on several fronts.

 “It’s not a one-direction type of fire,” Judy said.

“It’s going in different directions depending on which way the wind is blowing. It’s doing what it wants.”

Despite firefighters’ efforts, the blaze destroyed sets at Sable Ranch in Santa Clarita, which has Old West-style buildings used for movie locations.

 Monday’s forecast called for low humidity with afternoon and evening winds gusting to 25 mph or more, which could once again fan the fires’ explosive growth.

Smoke and ash from the blaze hung over neighboring Los Angeles. Air-quality officials advised people with respiratory problems to stay indoors.

Bengal tigers and a mountain lion were among several hundred animals evacuated Saturday as flames partially ringed the Wildlife Waystation, a nonprofit sanctuary for rescued exotic creatures in Sylmar. Volunteers showed up with trucks and trailers to help with the rescue. Later in the day, firefighters managed to beat back the threat.

More than 200 horses, along with goats, rabbits and other animals, also were removed from areas that were on fire.


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