California

California wildfires: Where are fires burning and which are the most dangerous?

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This story was updated at 7 p.m. PT Friday. Check back for the latest information.

Firefighters are battling several major wildfires across California, including a Sonoma County blaze that has engulfed more than 77,000 acres and a handful of smaller, newer blazes in the Los Angeles area, according to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency across California as a result of the wildfires.

A new fire started overnight Thursday in Ventura County. The fast-moving Maria Fire had burned more than 8,000 acres and was uncontained as of 5:30 a.m. Friday, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. The department said the fire was on South Mountain north of Somis.

“Today was a day of challenges,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said at a press conference on the Maria Fire at 6 p.m. on Friday, adding that the fire had burned just under 9,000 acres. “We have 1,300 firefighters protecting our community here.”

Lorenzen said Friday that “we are not out of the woods yet — we still have at least 24 hours of critical fire weather ahead of us.”

The National Weather Service on Friday extended a red flag warning through 6 p.m. Saturday for the Ventura County and Santa Clarita valleys, as well as for the interior Los Angeles and Ventura County mountains, due to strong winds and low humidities.

“There is a small chance that the Red Flag Warnings need to be extended into Sunday,” the National Weather Service said Friday. “As recent fire activity has shown, this remains a dangerous environment for fire growth, even with weaker winds than earlier this week.”

Here’s the latest information from Cal Fire on major wildfires active in California:

Kincade Fire

In Sonoma County, the Kincade Fire has burned 77,758 acres and forced as many as 200,000 to evacuate since erupting Oct. 23 near Geyserville.

The fire reached 68 percent containment Friday.

PG&E shut off power for hundreds of thousands in Northern California on Tuesday, anticipating strong winds that firefighters feared could spread new fires or lead to Kincade Fire flareups. But winds were weaker than expected, and by mid-afternoon on Wednesday officials announced that evacuees from Healdsburg, Windsor and other areas would be allowed to return home, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The blaze has destroyed 352 structures, including the historic Soda Rock Winery, and damaged 55 others. Four people have been injured by the blaze. About 5,000 firefighters are battling the flames.

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Easy Fire

The Easy Fire, which broke out at 6 a.m. Wednesday in Simi Valley near Los Angeles, threatened 6,500 homes and forced thousands of evacuations, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Fire officials said all evacuations were lifted on Thursday.

As of Friday morning the fire was 80 percent contained and had grown to 1,860 acres, the fire department said.

The nearby Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum was closed and evacuated. Local schools and some roads were closed.

Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said at a Wednesday news conference on the blaze that there were “upwards of 1,000 firefighters on the line right now protecting the community.”

Three firefighters have been injured, according to fire officials. Two structures had been destroyed as of Thursday morning.

Getty Fire

The Getty Fire, which broke out at 1:30 a.m. Monday along Interstate 405 near the Getty Center in Los Angeles, has burned 745 acres and forced as many as 10,000 evacuations, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

All evacuations were lifted as of Friday, fire officials said.

The blaze was 66 percent contained Friday. Four firefighters have been injured in the Getty Fire.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said early Friday, “Firefighters performed mop up and patrol throughout the night extinguishing any remaining hot spots inside the fire perimeter. Current objectives for firefighters today will be to increase and strengthen containment lines. Weak offshore winds of 10-15 mph are expected for wind prone areas of Los Angeles. A low relative humidity trend will continue across Southern California for the foreseeable future.”

Firefighters battled the flames amid a Santa Ana wind event that began Tuesday at 11 p.m., with gusts up to 70 mph.

Evacuees included basketball star LeBron James, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Avengers” star Clark Gregg and “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter.

Fifteen homes have been destroyed and 10 have been damaged.

The fire periodically closed I-405 at the Sepulveda Pass. About 620 firefighters are battling the blaze.

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How many wildfires are burning in California right now?

The Cal Fire incident map shows seven active wildfires being handled by the agency, ranging from 0 percent to 94 percent containment. It shows one wildfire — the Getty Fire — being handled by a local agency.

One of the other active blazes is the 46 Fire, which started Thursday morning outside Los Angeles in the Jurupa Valley area of Riverside County. The blaze forced evacuations overnight as the fire grew to 300 acres, but all evacuations were lifted in the afternoon, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

The 46 Fire destroyed three residential structures and two outbuildings, and embers from the fire destroyed and damaged several other buildings in the area, Riverside County Fire said. The fire was 70 percent contained Friday, Cal Fire said.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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