California wildfires threaten hundreds of homes, force evacuations

by Antonio Miles July 10, 2017, 0:28
California wildfires threaten hundreds of homes, force evacuations

The blaze known as Wall Fire started Friday and had burned 4,400 acres by Sunday morning when it was 17% contained, officials said.

The fire that started this weekend in California's Santa Barbara County was "completely out of control", county fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said.

In Santa Barbara County, hundreds of homes were evacuated along with a popular campground and summer camp, US ABC News reported.

On the county Twitter feed, officials said the fire was 0% contained late Saturday (July 8). Approximately 300 residents of the area were notified of the evacuation, according to KSBY. The winds are expected to shift northwest this afternoon, which could prompt more evacuations of the Tepesquet Canyon area.

Forecasters have warned that temperatures are likely to remain high with the elderly and children in particular danger.

The wildfires temporarily trapped at least 90 children and some 50 councilors at a local summer camp, Zaniboni said, adding that later the campers had been safely evacuated.

The nearby Whittier Fire, now the third-largest wildfire, barreled over more than 5,000 acres and engulfed Los Padres National Forest.

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Five helicopters made water drops Saturday, while four fixed-wing air tankers made retardant drops, with the main focus on structure defense, according to County Fire.

Hot, dry winds have fanned a wildfire in Santa Barbara County that has now grown to almost five square miles and forced evacuations in the most urgent of several blazes burning throughout the baking state.

The fire is one of three in the state that grew quickly as much of California baked in heat that's broken records in Southern California.

The area burning was about 16 kilometres south of Oroville, where spillways in the nation's tallest dam began crumbling from heavy rains this winter and led to temporary evacuation orders for 200,000 residents downstream.

The fire off state Route 166 near Twitchell Reservoir broke out about 3:45 p.m. and within a few hours had grown to 3,000 acres and was threatening remote homes, according to Cal Fire.

"The fire continues to burn actively", the Cal Fire website said Sunday morning.

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