Calif. Wildfire Doubles Size to 85K Acres

10K evacuated as soot covers parts of Los Angeles
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 31, 2009 1:44 PM CDT
Firefighters battle a wildfire in Acton, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – A southern California wildfire almost doubled in size overnight, reaching a whopping 85,760 acres, NBC Los Angeles reports, calling the speed of the fire’s spread “staggering.” A blanket of soot covers parts of the city as locals are warned to stay indoors, and heavy winds are expected later today, potentially worsening the situation. “We are making progress, but it is very slow and very dangerous,” says an official.

A 25,000-foot “mushroom cloud” of smoke over northern LA was visible for miles. More than 10,000 people have been evacuated, with at least 21 homes now destroyed. Meanwhile, flames are nearing the site of the city’s communication towers, posing a risk to cell-phone, radio, and TV signals and threatening fire and police department communication. The towers “are extremely crucial to the infrastructure and public safety protection,” the official says.