A new California wildfire has destroyed homes in a wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood and forced thousands to evacuate. Meanwhile, a local power company says its lines may have sparked two fires near San Francisco.
Authorities in California faced a new wildfire in Los Angeles as more than 1,000firefighters were struggling to contain two massive blazes in the north and the south of the state on Monday.
The new blaze was reported early on Monday near LA’s famed Getty Center museum. Authorities ordered evacuation of some 10,000 residences in the area, including many properties owned by California’s wealthy elite on the west side of the city and several schools and roads.
At least five multimillion-dollar homes in the posh area of Brentwood have been destroyed, although it was not immediately clear who the owners were.
Hollywood legend and former governor of the US state, Arnold Schwarzenegger, confirmed he had left his home overnight.
“If you are in an evacuation zone, don’t screw around. Get out,” he wrote on Twitter.
NBA star LeBron James said he was “driving around with my family trying to get rooms” after being forced to evacuate.
The firefighters in LA reported being “literally overwhelmed” while fighting the Getty fire overnight, local Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said.
“They had to make some tough decisions on which houses they were able to protect,” he said.
While the cause of the fires were not immediately clear, local power company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) said their power lines may have caused two fires near San Francisco. The company’s equipment has been blamed for a series of destructive fires in recent years, and the risk has now been compounded by high winds and dried out vegetation.
The Getty fire ignited overnight close to a major freeway and rapidly spread south and west towards neighborhoods, burning some 600 acres. Firefighters had rushed to the scene to prevent the blaze, slowing the the pace of the fire by Monday afternoon, but the arrival of strong winds hit the region once more on Tuesday.
The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, sharply criticized PG&E this week, saying that they have failed to upgrade their infrastructure due to greed and mismanagement.
mvb,dj/dr (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)