California firefighters on Friday are furiously trying to contain massive wildfires that have been tearing through the Los Angeles area since Thursday night.
(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) LOS ANGELES FIRE CHIEF RALPH TERRAZAS: “In terms of fire activity, we’re at zero percent containment.
The size right now is 4,700 acres-plus.
We’ve calculated that the fire’s moving at a rate of 800 acres per hour.” The so-called Saddleridge fire has engulfed homes in the San Fernando Valley and forced massive evacuations, snarling traffic for miles.
Some shelters are already at full capacity.
No cause has been cited.
Dry conditions and high winds a lethal combination in the days to come.
(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) LOS ANGELES FIRE CHIEF RALPH TERRAZAS: “These weather conditions are significant in terms of brush threat.
The relative humidity has dropped to as low as three percent.
Right now it’s seven percent.
The winds were sustained at about 20 to 25 miles per hour with gusts over 50 miles per hour.
So as you can imagine the embers from the wind have been travelling a significant distance, which causes another fire to start.” Much of the state is on high alert, with utility company Pacific Gas & Electric cutting power in several areas to prevent their lines from sparking.
That irked California Governor Gavin Newsom, who, while respecting the safety measure, described the outage as too broad and said it resulted from years of mismanagement.
PG&E is on the hook for potentially $30 billion for previous wildfires linked to its transmission wires and other equipment.
It filed for bankruptcy in January.
Separately, another blaze called the Sandalwood fire is sweeping through an area east of L.A., triggered by burning trash in a dumpster.
That fire was only 10 percent contained as of Friday morning.