Thou­sands flee homes as huge wild­fire rages near Los An­ge­les

Irish Independent - - World News - Kim Ripoll

A HUGE wild­fire in moun­tains east of Los An­ge­les that is South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s big­gest blaze so far this year was still rag­ing yes­ter­day, with thou­sands of peo­ple forced to evac­u­ate their homes.

The blaze in River­side County, among sev­eral wild­fires across Cal­i­for­nia, had con­sumed more than 106kmsq of dry brush and tim­ber since it broke out on Fri­day evening, ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Forestry and

Fire Pro­tec­tion. As of yes­ter­day morn­ing, it was just 5pc con­tained and the fire along with coro­n­avirus pre­cau­tions made for added stress at an evac­u­a­tion cen­tre, said John Me­d­ina, an Amer­i­can Red Cross spokesman.

Vol­un­teers used to “close con­tact” with evac­uees have had to ad­just their ap­proach dur­ing a time of so­cial dis­tanc­ing, Mr Me­d­ina said.

“I mean, that’s part of the re­cov­ery of a disas­ter, is that you have to show warmth and love and car­ing. And that’s blaze that be­gan as two ad­ja­cent fires in Cherry Val­ley, a rural area near the city of Beau­mont, about 137km east of down­town Los An­ge­les.

Flames raced along brushy ridge tops and came close to houses. One home and two out­build­ings were de­stroyed, Cal­i­for­nia fire of­fi­cials said.

In North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, evac­u­a­tions were or­dered af­ter a wild­fire that sparked Sun­day af­ter­noon spread quickly and burned near homes near the East Park Reser­voir in Co­lusa County.

‘It’s hard to show warmth and car­ing when you are standing six feet away’

PHOTO: GETTY

hard when you’re standing six feet away. So that’s the big­gest chal­lenge,” Mr Me­d­ina told KESQ-TV. Bill Boehm helped his mother evac­u­ate her home with her three horses and said the pan­demic hasn’t stopped peo­ple from com­ing to­gether to as­sist each other. “Ev­ery­one seemed to be wear­ing masks and such, so that type of pre­cau­tion was still go­ing on,” Mr Boehm told the news sta­tion. In­ves­ti­ga­tors are try­ing to de­ter­mine the cause of the In­ferno: A fire­fighter bat­tles the blaze to the east of Los An­ge­les.

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