California residents evacuated as wildfire grows to 2,000 acres

Sept. 2 (UPI) — Hundreds of California residents were ordered to evacuate as a wildfire grew to 2,000 acres overnight and threatened homes.

The Los Angeles Fire Department issued mandatory evacuations for several streets in Burbank early Saturday morning, as the blaze crept toward firefighter’s defense lines and threatened about 50 homes.

Firefighters said erratic fire behavior caused by strong, gusting winds made it difficult to predict what areas may be at risk.

“It’s not the typical nighttime fire behavior,” LAFD spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said. “We’re using every resource we have.”

Police went door to door to alert residents of about 200 homes affected by the evacuation order, the Los Angeles Times reported, and evacuation centers were established in Sunland and Burbank.

No injuries or structural damage were reported, but the wildfire shut down a nearly 13-mile stretch of Interstate 210.

Known as the La Tuna fire, the blaze started for unknown reasons at about 1:25 p.m. and covered about a half-acre of medium brush when fire crews initially arrived at the scene near La Tuna Canyon Road, KNBC reported.

A wind shift at around 2 p.m. caused embers to blow across I-210, igniting dry brush that resulted in another fire.

The “topography-driven” flames spread to about 500 acres at 5 p.m. before quadrupling in size at 9:30 p.m.

Firefighters donned night vision goggles as they performed overnight water drops to “to take the heat out of the head of the fire.”

Temperatures in the area had reached as high as 106 degrees on Friday accompanied by 50 mph gusts of wind, according to Carol Smith, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

“It just really stokes the fire,” Smith said. “I mean, when it’s hot and the gusty winds, it’s been a bad mix of different things.”


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