30,000 Flee Raging Fires

Hundreds of homes destroyed by California blazes fueled by fierce Santa Ana winds

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 16, 2008 6:05 AM CST

(Newser) – Nearly 30,000 people have fled three massive fires scorching thousands of acres from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, reports the Los Angeles Times. Hundreds of homes have been gutted in three days of blazes fueled by raging Santa Ana winds that firefighters are struggling mightily to contain. Major freeways were closed, complicating escape for hundreds of residents.

Controlling the blazes was made even more difficult yesterday by low humidity and temperatures that hit a record high of 93 in LA. "The embers are falling miles ahead of the fire front," said an Orange County fire battalion chief. "That's what's creating a lot of the problems—and the wind is a challenge." Another firefighter said : "This is horrendous. Nothing has been as devastating in Orange County as this.

Residents look on as a wind driven Santa Ana fire threatens homes, in Yorba Linda, Calif., yesterday.
Residents look on as a wind driven Santa Ana fire threatens homes, in Yorba Linda, Calif., yesterday.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Police enforce a mandatory evacuation in a neighborhood as a wind driven Santa Ana fire threatens homes, in Yorba Linda, Calif., yesterday.
Police enforce a mandatory evacuation in a neighborhood as a wind driven Santa Ana fire threatens homes, in Yorba Linda, Calif., yesterday.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
An elderly resident is evacuated as a wind driven Santa Ana fire burns homes, in Yorba Linda, Calif., yesterday.
An elderly resident is evacuated as a wind driven Santa Ana fire burns homes, in Yorba Linda, Calif., yesterday.   (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
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