Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times
The firestorm in Sylmar
A fire emergency in the San Fernando Valley today. The main wildfire erupted in the foothills above Veterans Memorial Park in Sylmar last night around 10:30 p.m. Wicked Santa Ana winds of 70 miles an hour whipped the flames into a roaring firestorm. 2,600 to 3,000 acres have been blackened. At least 200 homes have been destroyed and 10,000 people have been evacuated. There is a report of a few injuries with one civilian suffering serious burns.
First, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared a state of emergency in the city of Los Angeles; then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did the same for Los Angeles County this morning. Also, some of the power lines were either damaged by the fire or de-energized as a safety precaution; so that has resulted in outages in a number of areas.
Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times
A firefighter pours water on the flames behind a damaged mobile home in Sylmar
A devastated area is the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar where the fire reportedly blew through like a blow torch last night. There are reports that most of the homes burned, but fire crews are still on the scene today fighting to save the structures.
No relief today from the hot temperatures, fierce winds and low humidity. Hundreds of firefighters and a number of aircraft are battling the flames. The evacuations have extended to Granada Hills and Porter Ranch. In a news conference this morning, Mayor Villaraigosa urged residents in the fire region to be on the alert and leave when they feel threatened, “… we want folks not to wait until they see the fire..” to get out.