Critical Fire Weather and Wildfire Starts in Across California
As of Thursday, a Red Flag Warning expired in Northern California but went into effect for Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties through Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service. In addition, more than 170,000 Southern California utility customers are under a power shutoff watch throughout the region. Twenty-two counties in Northern California in recent days have also sustained power shutoffs in preventative wildfire efforts. PG&E has begun restoring power in those Northern California counties. The Red Cross has had logistics teams in place monitoring events across the state.
Approximately 275 fires broke out yesterday across California as hot, gusty winds signaled the start of peak fire season. Here in Northern California, a vegetation fire caused a large evacuation in Contra Costa County on Thursday. Red Cross disaster workers provided food and water services for the evacuated residents. Also on Thursday, a brush fire in San Mateo County affected caused concerns due to its location under power transmission lines. The Red Cross provided food and water services for first responders on the scene.
In Southern California, a wildfire occurred on Thursday near Camarillo in Ventura County, burning dense brush and away from homes. The event initially resulted in calls for mandatory evacuations, but the progress of the fire has been stopped. The Red Cross remains ready to support.
Multiple fires are raging in Riverside County, including the Sandalwood Fire, which ripped through a manufactured home community, with a mostly senior population, on Thursday. The fire is approximately 10% contained and has burned over 800 acres. Dozens of structures were destroyed. Mandatory evacuations are in effect south and east of Highway 10. The Red Cross opened a shelter, where 16 evacuees spent Thursday night. The Red Cross will continue to provide recovery support to those affected.
The Saddleridge Fire developed rapidly Thursday evening in Los Angeles County amidst high winds. There are currently mandatory evacuations for Oakridge Estates and the area west of I-5 and west of Balboa. I-5 is closed in both directions. As of early Friday morning, more than 4,600 acres had been burned and is 0% contained. There has been at least one reported commercial building lost, and several homes have been destroyed. Red Cross disaster workers opened four shelters overnight, two of which have reached capacity, and they are prepared to open more. Red Cross is providing shelter, food, and support to evacuated residents.
People have been forced to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night, the smoke is affecting everyone, and the fear is real. Some people have lost everything, but as always, the Red Cross is there helping alleviate suffering in the face of these wildfires by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Today, the winds will die down a little, and that should help the fire departments make progress on these fires; however, the winds are increasing in San Diego. A wildfire can spread quickly, leaving you little time to get to safety. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and obey all evacuation orders from officials. Download the Red Cross Emergency App for real-time alerts, open shelters and expert advice on wildfires. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps.
A wildfire can spread very quickly, giving you little time to evacuate to safety. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Obey evacuation orders from officials.
- Back your car into the garage or park it outside in the direction of your evacuation route.
- Confine pets to one room so you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
- Limit exposure to smoke and dust – keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
- Do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor pollution such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.
Do not return home until officials say it is safe to do so.
- Inspect the roof immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers. Wildfires may have left embers that could reignite.
- For several hours afterward, recheck for smoke and sparks throughout the home, including the attic. Keep checking your home for embers that could cause fires.