California: Evacuation orders as historic 10,000-acre blaze spreads north of LA

A fast-moving brush fire near Lake Hughes, California, has spread to over 10,000 acres forcing at least 100 homes to be evacuated.

The fire, which has since been named the Lake Fire, was reported on Wednesday morning and spread quickly throughout the day, according to KABC.

At around 4pm on Wednesday, the blaze only stretched around 50 acres. Within two hours the blaze had covered around 10,000.

Some parts of the area have caught fire for the first time since 1968, CBSLA reported.

“It’s pretty explosive fire behaviour,” said Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia told the broadcaster.

“It’s typically what we see a little bit later in the season and often driven by wind. The fuel, moisture conditions and the fire at this particular location with the slope, it really created the recipe for rapid-fire growth,” he said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced mandatory evacuation orders that covered approximately 100 structures.

An evacuation centre has reportedly been set up at a local high school, but due to coronavirus concerns people are being advised to shelter in their cars outside the building, CBSNews reported.

The Lake Fire created enough force to make several “fire tornadoes” a whirlwind induced by a fire and often composed of flame or ash, KABC said.

Officials have not yet confirmed if any homes have been lost to the fire, but the blaze was seen reaching several homes in the area.

A photograph taken for the Associated Press showed what appeared to be a burning home.

Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief David Richardson said some outbuildings may have been destroyed.

Around 500 firefighters and 20 strike teams were called out to tackle the blaze, which continued to rage through the area into Thursday morning, reports said.

No injuries were immediately reported. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but officials said the fire was being driven by tinder-dry brush and steep terrain.

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