USA TODAY US Edition
New wildfire sends more fleeing
Thousands in California ordered to leave homes
LOS ANGELES – Tens of thousands of Los Angeles residents were ordered out of their homes Monday, joining almost 200,000 Northern Californians previously forced to flee sprawling wildfires fueled by high winds and drought conditions.
“We want people to now enact predetermined plans, grab their belongings, their medications, take care of their pets and be able to get out of that area in a safe and calm manner,” Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Erik Scott said. “This is a very dynamic fire and all residents ... need to be vigilant and stay informed.”
In Northern California’s Sonoma County, residents stressed by unrelenting evacuations and power outages were rocked by another slap from Mother Nature on Monday when a magnitude 3.3 earthquake rattled the area.
No damage or injuries were immediately reported from the temblor, centered a few miles from the roaring Kincade Fire that struck at 1:10 a.m. The fire itself remained just 5% contained as it chewed through more than 100 square miles and destroyed or damaged over 120 buildings.
An additional 80,000 homes, businesses and other buildings were threatened by the blaze. Pacific Gas & Electric said it has cut off power to almost 1 million customers to prevent high winds from sparking wildfires. An additional 100,000 customers lost power because of the wild weather. And more bad news was on the horizon.
“PG&E is monitoring a third consecutive Severe Wind Event for Tuesday and Wednesday that could impact nearly 32 Counties Across Northern and Central California,” the utility warned in a statement.
PG&E said will make every effort to restore power to as many customers as possible who are currently without power before the next round of preemptive power shutoffs, known as Public Safety Power Shutoffs, or PSPS.
“However, due to the dynamic and changing weather conditions, and high fire risk, some customers who are currently out of power may remain out throughout the duration of the next potential PSPS event,” PG&E said.
The issues were not limited to the utility’s service areas in northern and central California. A brush fire near the Getty Center that ignited early Monday quickly grew to 500 acres and forced the evacuation of 10,000 homes and businesses.
About 20 of the city’s public elementary and secondary schools also were closed Monday because of the fire. UCLA also canceled classes for its 45,000 students. The school said the campus was not threatened by the fire, but “we know members of our campus community live in evacuation areas or may be impacted by road closures.”
In the Mandeville Canyon section of Los Angeles, Joyce McDaniel evacuated out of her home and into her silver 1990 Volvo. Living more than 2 miles up the canyon, she thought it was prudent to get out anyway.
She got out with only some important papers, a toothbrush and her two cats, Danny Boy and Dora the Explorer. She had a litter box for them and was feeding them food from a can.
“It was calm,“McDaniel, 83, said. “There was no (visible) fire.”
Celebrities were not immune. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who posted social media posts detailing how he and his family had sought a hotel after being forced to evacuate.
“Finally found a place to accommodate us!” James later tweeted. “Crazy night man!”