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California Wildfire Expands, Forces More Evacuations

  • VOA News

A firefighter watches a wildfire near Placenta Caynon Road in Santa Clarita, California, July 24, 2016.

A firefighter watches a wildfire near Placenta Caynon Road in Santa Clarita, California, July 24, 2016.

A large wildfire in Southern California has forced thousands more residents from their homes after the blaze expanded Monday.

Nearly 3,000 firefighters are battling the fire, which has raged for four days near Santa Clarita, about 60 kilometers north of Los Angeles. Officials say the blaze is only about 10 percent contained.

Evacuation orders were expanded Monday to about 10,000 homes, after a shift in the winds caused the fire to threaten more neighborhoods around the Angeles National Forest.

At least 18 homes already have been destroyed and authorities reported one fatality, a man's burned body found in a parked car in the fire zone. Officials say his death remains under investigation.

Firefighters shield themselves from embers and heavy smoke as flames close in on houses at the Sand Fire, July 23 2016, near Santa Clarita, California.

Firefighters shield themselves from embers and heavy smoke as flames close in on houses at the Sand Fire, July 23 2016, near Santa Clarita, California.

Authorities say the fire has charred about 132 square kilometers, including canyons and ranch lands.

"It's not a one-direction type of fire,'' said Nathan Judy, a spokesman for the Angeles National Forest. "It's going in different directions, depending on which way the wind is blowing. It's doing what it wants.''

The fire also forced the evacuation of Bengal tigers, a mountain lion and other animals from a nonprofit sanctuary for rescued exotic creatures within the national forest.

Another fire is burning about 500 kilometers to the north, in the majestic Big Sur region of California. That fire poses a threat to about 1,000 homes, and the community of Palo Colorado was ordered evacuated.

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