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Historic 'Extreme Red Flag Warning' for Southern California as Wildfire Crisis Escalates

Firefighters battle the Saddleridge fire in Sylmar, Calif., Friday Oct. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/David Swanson)
Firefighters battle the Saddleridge fire in Sylmar, Calif., Friday Oct. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/David Swanson)


The National Weather Service (NWS) in Los Angeles has issued a historic fire warning to area residents as conditions ramp up to produce a severe threat.

For the first time, the NWS has called an extreme red flag warning as winds, temperatures and humidity create an environment ripe for danger.

One of the biggest concerns is hurricane-force winds. The weather service says gusts could reach 80 miles an hour through Thursday night in one the strongest wind events there in years.

Capt. Adam Mitchell with the California Dept. of Forest and Fire Protection said the lack of rain is not helping. "We're at the time of year when we haven't seen any moisture in our fuel beds for an extended period of time. The fuels are critically dry. They are receptive to new fires as well as fire spread."
New dashcam footage shows the moment that the Getty Fire started near Los Angeles. Right off the 405 freeway, high winds broke off a tree branch and it landed on power lines, igniting nearby brush.

More than 9,000 people in southern California are still under evacuation orders.

Some local churches are sending people to neighborhood evacuation centers to help and provide encouragement.

Rev. Drew Sams of Bel Air Church told CBN News that some of their members have had to evacuate, leaving their homes in 15 minutes in some cases.

Others are seeking out evacuation centers in order to minister to others. 

"There are evacuation centers all over Los Angeles," said Sams. "It's so wonderful, our church family has been showing up and simply being present with those that they've never met before. They're bringing water. They're bringing their presence and they're bringing encouragement."

In northern California, the state's largest utility has begun its third round of sweeping blackouts, hoping to prevent more fires from starting.

Currently 1.5 million people are without power there and in southern California, the local utility may cut power to more than half a million.

Forecasters say the worst fire danger from the winds is expected Wednesday and Thursday with conditions expected to ease after that.


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