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Wildfires still burning in the Southland

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Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

A firefighting plane circles the flames and smoke in Yorba Linda

The major battle against these destructive wildfires shifted to Orange and San Bernardino Counties today where the flames are the most threatening. Fire crews from Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara County, and as far away as San Mateo in Northern California are joining that fight.

Since yesterday, more than 10,000 acres have burned in Chino Hills, Carbon Canyon, Yorba Linda, Corona, Anaheim Hills, and Brea. Thousands of people have been evacuated. At least a hundred homes and apartment units have been destroyed. Six firefighters have been injured in the battle to protect residents and property.

Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

The devastated Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar

“Yeah, terrible!” That’s how a grocery checker at Pavilions in Burbank reacted when I asked her about the brown-amber smoke that streaked the sky in Burbank yesterday afternoon. Not only could you see it, but the air had that distinctive brush fire smell. This morning, I discovered my car was covered with white  specks of ash. The source of it all; the huge Sylmar fire which is about 10 miles or so away. That wildfire has blackened more than 9,400 acres, destroyed 500 mobile homes and at least 20 other houses and commercial buildings. It is now 30 percent contained.

The Oakridge Mobile Home Park was overrun with fire on Friday night, hundreds of homes there burned to the ground. Authorities designated the ruined park a crime scene yesterday. Investigators will reportedly start going through the park rubble today. In a news conference this morning, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villariagosa described a visit to the park and says he saw “… a devastation I’ve never seen before.”

Meanwhile up in Santa Barbara County the Montecito fire, which broke out late Thursday, is 40 percent contained. That wildfire was fueled by powerful sundowner winds and it destroyed 210 homes in Montecito and the city of Santa Barbara. Around 18-hundred acres scorched. The number of injured stands at 13.

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