Thu. Jan 23rd, 2020

Fires in California claim a life and threaten 100,000 homes

The dangerous forest fires that threaten California on Friday already claimed the first fatality, destroyed dozens of houses and forced them to order the mandatory evacuation of some 100,000 homes and close roads and schools.

While thousands of people remain without power throughout the state because of the risk of new forest fires being unleashed, the greatest concern of the authorities is in northern Los Angeles, where the fire called Saddleridge caused the death of one person.

The victim, a 50-year-old man, died of cardiac arrest while talking to firefighters by phone when the flames approached his home.

The dangerous fire forced to order the mandatory evacuation for the residents of some 100,000 homes, many of whom had to leave their homes in the early morning.

The fire broke out on Thursday night and grew rapidly fueled by the winds of Santa Ana to ravage at least 4,700 acres (1,900 hectares) in the early hours of this Friday morning.

At a press conference, local authorities reported that the fire has already consumed at least 25 houses and that more than 100,000 homes are threatened if the flames reach a neighborhood in Ventura County.

The rapid spread of the flames also forced the closure of several schools and roads, including Highway 5, which runs through the state from north to south.

The National Meteorological Service (NWS) forecasts that high winds, ranging between 25 and 30 miles per hour (32 and 48 km / h, respectively), will remain until Friday afternoon with gusts that could reach 50 m / h (80 km / h) in the area of ​​this fire.

To the winds it is necessary to add the low humidity prevailing in the area, of less than 10%, a combination that caused the flames to jump from one neighborhood to another before the firemen and the police could warn the residents to make an evacuation neat.

East of Los Angeles, in Riverside County, firefighters also deal with three other fires, one of which destroyed 74 mobile homes last night.

The fires broke out a day after California power companies cut service to more than one million customers for the first time in the state's history due to the risk of high winds tearing down power lines in dry areas and causing fires.

The staggered blackouts especially affected customers in the north of the state, where Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) suspended service to more than 800,000 customers amid an alert due to high winds.

These blackouts, which generated chaos in public services, especially in the transportation of the San Francisco Bay area, generated strong criticism between users and authorities.

At a press conference last night in Sacramento, Governor Gavin Newsom called PG&E's decision "unacceptable and negligent" and said the company should have worked to make its energy system more resilient.

PG&E made the decision after warning of strong winds that affected a vast swath of the state, from the San Francisco Bay area to the Central Agricultural Valley, and especially in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

In the latter place, collapsed power lines unleashed in 2018 the "Camp Fire" fire, which killed 86 people and practically incinerated the city of Paradise.

The company faces at least 7,000 million in claims and lawsuits due to its alleged responsibility in this incident that destroyed some 14,000 houses, 500 businesses, another 4,300 structures and 61,900 hectares

The decision to make staggered blackouts was also taken by the company Edison, the largest electricity supplier in southern California, which made controlled blackouts on Thursday for about 20,000 users, some made near the affected area this Friday.

. (tagsToTranslate) fires (t) California (t) charge (t) threaten (t) houses

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