Wildfire: Largest LA History, 100’s of Homes at Risk
More than a 1000 firefighters are battling the largest wildfire in Los Angeles history contended with erratic winds Sunday, but more moderate temperatures could help contain a blaze that has forced hundreds to evacuate their homes.
The nearly 5,900-acre La Tuna Fire, named after the canyon area near the northern edge of Los Angeles where it erupted Friday, has destroyed 3 homes and damaged 1 so far.
Officials have evacuated more than 700 homes in a Los Angeles neighborhood and in nearby Burbank and Glendale.
The blaze in thick brush that has not burned in decades was slowly creeping down rugged hillsides toward houses and was only 10% contained Sunday.
“Our priority is to put firefighters in a position to protect lives and property,” Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said at a news conference Sunday. “There’s a lot of fuel out there left to burn.”
Temperatures in the area have been around 100 degrees F (38 degrees Celsius) in recent days. But the Mercury is expected to ease to between 90 and 94 degrees in most of the area throughout Sunday.
“Today and the rest of the week we believe that the weather will become more favorable,” Chief Terrazas said.
Fire officials offered the same estimate on the size of the fire as they did Saturday night, but will update the number later Sunday.
Wind speeds in the area were moving at 3 to 5 mph with gusts up to 12 mph, Chief Terrazas said.
“That can change in a moment’s notice and the winds can accelerate very quickly,” he added.
Saturday night, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared an emergency, ordering “all available resources” deployed to protect residents and property. He said the fire was the largest in the city’s history in terms of acreage.
More than 1,000 firefighters from Los Angeles Fire Department and surrounding cities were fighting the blaze, with additional help from state and federal agencies.
Chief Terrazas said at least 2 firefighters suffered minor heat-related injuries and illnesses.
The fire could make air unhealthy to breathe in parts of Los Angeles, the nation’s 2nd-largest city, and nearby suburbs, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said in an advisory.
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