California wildfire spreads to over 11,000 acres

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Los Angeles, July 24 (IANS) Wildfire fuelled by high heat has so far spread across at least 11,000 acres in California’s Santa Clarita Valley area, fire officials said.

A brush fire broke out along the northbound Antelope Valley around 2 p.m. on Friday, near Sand Canyon Road in Santa Clarita. The blaze was contained only about 10 per cent on Saturday, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

Hot and dry temperatures, together with gusts of up to 65 km per hour helped the fire burned more than 2,000 acres, Xinhua news agency reported.

Residents reported of smoke-filled air and falling ash in many parts of the greater Los Angeles area, and at least one building was believed to have been damaged or destroyed. No injuries were reported as a result of the blaze, the department confirmed.

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Fewer than 100 people were evacuated from the area of Capra Road off Soledad Canyon road because of the flames, county fire officials said.

About 300 firefighters were battling the flames from the ground and air. The Los Angeles Fire Department sent a water-dropping helicopter to join the county fire department. Eight fixed-wing firefighting aircraft were also called in to attack the blaze.

A smoke advisory was issued on Saturday night for the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Pomona/Walnut Valley, and the central Los Angeles area, as smoke from the fire drifted southeast toward Los Angeles.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District said those areas were susceptible to direct smoke impact and unhealthy air quality, and recommended that people stay indoors and avoid using swamp coolers and wood-burning appliances.

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