California wildfire burns virtually out of control

2009-08-31 08:55 BJT

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The governor of California has issued a dire warning to residents in the Los Angeles region. He is urging those living near areas affected by massive wildfires to heed authorities and evacuate if required.

Arnold Schwarzenegger says California's wildfires are raging out of control. Three people were burned on Saturday after ignoring evacuation orders. The extent of their injuries is unclear at this time.

The Golden State governor announced that four evacuation centers have been set up, with more to come. Mandatory clear-outs are now in effect for several Los Angeles area communities.

Schwarzenegger said, "We have, right now, 35 thousand acres that burned. We have five percent containment. Three homes were destroyed. 12,500 structures are threatened right now. 6,600 homes have been evacuated."

The growing wildfires in the mountains above Los Angeles surged northward on Sunday, forcing additional departures and threatening more than 10-thousand homes.

Residents in the small town of Acton were urged to evacuate as the four-day-old blaze headed toward the Antelope Valley. Flames have spread in all directions.

A slight drop in temperatures and an influx of emergency crews from around the state are expected to bring some relief. Approximately two-thousand firefighters are now battling the blaze.

Flames have steadily crept down the slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains, despite mild winds blowing predominantly in the other direction. The fire's cause is under investigation.