Saturday, November 15, 2008

'Armageddon' in Califorina

New Blaze Erupts, Thousands Flee
Associated Press

A wind-blasted wildfire tore through the city's northern foothills early Saturday, sending thousands of residents fleeing in the dark, forcing a hospital to evacuate and destroying an untold number of homes.

The fire broke out late Friday night in the foothill community of Sylmar on the edge of the Angeles National Forest and quickly spread across 2,600 acres — more than 4 square miles — in a few hours as it was driven by Santa Ana wind that gusted as high as 76 mph.

At least 10 homes were burned, officials said, but aerial footage from television helicopters showed many mobile homes in flames. An Associated Press photographer said a fire crew abandoned one trailer park that was burning out of control.

Part of the area's network of highways was shut down.

Officials ordered huge evacuations in the Sylmar and Porter Ranch communities as the fire jumped two freeways, closing the highways and forcing fleeing evacuees to take surface streets.

To the west, firefighters were still battling a separate wildfire that destroyed more than 110 homes in Santa Barbara.

See: Photos Show Scope of Devastation

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