Wild­fire worst may be yet to sweep LA

Winds fore­cast as just 5% of blazes un­der con­trol

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - WORLD NEWS -

The largest and most de­struc­tive of the ma­jor wild­fires cur­rently sweep­ing south­ern Cal­i­for­nia has grown to 140 square miles – and fire of­fi­cials have said the worst may be yet to come.

A 90,000-acre fire burn­ing in Ven­tura County, north-west of Los An­ge­les, has swept through ridges and canyons to the sea and the Santa Ana winds that drove it are ex­pected to re­turn with a vengeance overnight.

State fire di­rec­tor Ken Pim­lott said winds that eased in the af­ter­noon could re­turn with gusts up to 80mph that would make it im­pos­si­ble to fight the fire.

Dozens of homes have burned since the blaze erupted on Mon­day.

Nearly 1,800 fire­fight­ers and a fleet of air­craft are fight­ing the flames but the blaze is only 5% con­tained and an es­ti­mated 12,000 build­ings are in dan­ger.

Ear­lier a wild­fire in a wealthy west­ern area of Los An­ge­les reached an es­tate and win­ery owned by me­dia mogul Ru­pert Mur­doch.

Rox­anne Langer at Mor­aga Vine­yards in Bel Air said a tem­per­a­ture­con­trolled wine stor­age shed burned af­ter the fire erupted be­fore dawn, but it was un­clear how much wine was lost.

She said fire­fight­ers stepped in to douse the flames with the aid of he­li­copters and that other stor­age sheds, the win­ery it­self and the es­tate’s un­oc­cu­pied house are not dam­aged.

The win­ery, bought by Mr Mur­doch for about $30mil­lion (£22mil­lion) in 2013, has been evac­u­ated.

Ms Langer said it ap­peared the seven acres of vines suf­fered only slight dam­age and the grapes had al­ready been har­vested.

In a Face­book state­ment Mr Mur­doch said some neigh­bours suf­fered heavy losses and that his thoughts and prayers were with them.

On Wed­nes­day fire­fight­ers man­aged to stop the spread of a wild­fire that has de­stroyed homes near the world-fa­mous Getty mu­seum in Los An­ge­les.

Deputy fire chief Charles But­ler said fire­fight­ers and air­craft stopped the growth of the 475acre blaze in the Bel Air neigh­bour­hood.

Mr But­ler said four homes had been de­stroyed and 11 dam­aged since the blaze erupted be­fore dawn on Wed­nes­day in an area that in­cludes many hill­top man­sions.

About 700 homes, a block of flats and a school were or­dered evac­u­ated.

“Gusts of 80mph would make it im­pos­si­ble to fight the fire”

WALL OF FIRE: Fire­fight­ers can do lit­tle in the face of wild­fires in Ven­tura County, north-west of Los An­ge­les. Strong winds are fore­cast

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