No emergency outages after Santa Ana winds prompted Southern California fire danger warnings
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California firefighters battled fierce winds Sunday to prevent severe and deadly flames from ravaging the region after a heatwave and an unusually warm January prompted a series of emergency warnings.
Emergency officials reported scattered brush fires burning in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as winds gusting to 110 miles (180 kilometers) per hour (mph) pushed the flames into the Santa Diego National Forest.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths in the fires. But authorities stressed that those who could evacuate should do so quickly.
Fire officials said the flames in the mountains west of Los Angeles were among the worst to hit the area in four decades.
A line of spot fires burning in Ventura County, northwest of the Los Angeles basin, forced the evacuation of about 70 homes and prompted the closure of a railroad line and a busy highway.
On Friday, Santa Ana winds up to 120 mph (185 kph) toppled trees in the region and sparked two days of wildfires across Southern California. In that blaze, a single tree fell on a car and broke its windshield.
Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said winds gusting up to 50 mph (80 kph) forced him to declare emergency status for six counties — Ventura, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Carpinteria.
“This is a major fire,” Lorenzen said. “A very serious fire.”
Lorenzen said another large fire — the worst of those that burned in Ventura and Los Angeles counties Friday — was already raging in Los Padres National Forest.
“We had already identified the fire in the Los Padres. It was not at the edge of the Los Angeles basin, but it was in Santa Barbara County. It was just a few miles from the Los Angeles basin,” he said.
He said there were no injuries or deaths.
In Los Angeles, California Highway Patrol officers said winds drove flames