Firefighters Visit Girl on Her Birthday as Father Fights California Wildfires

Thursday, 31 Oct, 2019

Announcing preliminary findings by its arson investigators into the origins of the Getty fire, the Los Angeles Fire Department said the blaze was likely caused by a tree branch that snapped off in high winds and landed on adjacent power lines, produced sparks and "arcing" that ignited nearby brush.

"I've asked my command staff to do everything possible to ensure that the line is... as cold as possible before those winds kick up", Los Angeles fire chief Ralph Terrazas said.

The size of the Getty fire's evacuation zone was reduced by roughly 3,000 homes on Tuesday, but residents of about 7,000 dwellings remained displaced, fire officials said.

The fire grew to 74,324 acres by Monday evening, up from 66,231 acres, but firefighters have achieved 15% containment, up from the 5% containment reported Monday morning, according to Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox.

Still, even before the ignition of the Getty Fire early Monday, the sheer scale and number of wildfires confronting California - including Santa Clarita's Tick Fire - prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a statewide emergency Sunday. They are forecast to reach sustained speeds of 80 to 110 kilometres per hour (50 to 70 miles per hour) on Wednesday and Thursday, raising the risk of sparks and embers being whipped into fresh wildfires in unburned areas.

Within minutes, a fire crew arrived to help Rivera and her boyfriend protect their home. The flames forced the evacuation of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and nearby homes.

A new brush fire started in the Los Angeles area early Wednesday near the gravesite and historical library of former President Ronald Reagan in Simi Valley, authorities said. High winds Tuesday will leave more than 17 million people - nearly half of California's population - facing critical fire weather conditions, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center.

Along Sunset Boulevard on Tuesday, most streets leading up to the hillside homes where the Getty fire burned Monday were blocked by parking enforcement officers who were also teamed up with a pair of motorcycle cops.

The warning, issued by the Los Angeles weather service, covers Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernadino counties.

The National Weather Service says Santa Ana winds developed more slowly than expected in southern California but strong gusts are topping 50 miles per hour. It's the first time the weather service has issued such a warning to convey potentially historic fire conditions.

Firefighters, including inmates from state prisons, have contained 30 percent of the Kincade Fire.

As of Tuesday morning, the Getty fire had scorched 658 acres and burned down several homes, according to the Times.

"Man these LA fires aren't no joke", he said.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) cut off power to about 1 million customers in Northern California earlier this week in an attempt to prevent wildfires.

At the start of the day, firefighters in Los Angeles and those battling a much larger conflagration in northern California's Sonoma County wine country took advantage of lighter winds to make headway before hazardous winds reemerged.