Gov. Newsom declares State of Emergency amidst California fires
With nearly 50,000 people already under evacuation orders due to the Tick Fire in Santa Clarita, California that broke out Thursday, October 24, the fire continued to grow and even jumped a highway overnight and prompted more evacuations.
As of Friday morning, October 25, the fire burned roughly 4,300 acres and was 5% contained. Authorities confirmed that six structures had been destroyed.
“However, we know that it’s going to rise today,” said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby.
Authorities also reported that the 14 Freeway had been closed in both directions from Golden Valley Road to Escondido Canyon Road.
All public schools in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys were also closed Friday.
While no flames were active as of Friday morning, Osby said “significant and erratic winds” required them to stay vigilant.
“At any moment, an ember could get out of our containment line,” said Osby.
Winds are expected to die down by late Friday, but are expected to pick up again on Sunday.
While many followed evacuation orders, Osby said that they were aware that there were people who chose to stay home. Shelters had been set up in Santa Clarita’s College of the Canyons and West Ranch High School
L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger of the 5th District, which includes Santa Clarita, described the Tick Fire as having the “largest evacuation we’ve had.”
Santa Clarita is California’s 18th largest city, according to the city’s website. It states that of Santa Clarita’s diverse Asian population, Filipinos make up the largest chunk at 36%.
Gov. Newsom declares State of Emergency over LA and Sonoma county fires
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles as well as in Sonoma Counties due to wildfires also happening in the Bay Area.
Authorities say the Kincade fire, which started on Wednesday, isn’t expected to be fully contained until next Thursday.
It’s unclear as to how the fire started, but public utility company Pacific Gas & Electric told state regulators that they became aware that a jumper from one of its transmission towers came close to where the fire ignited. The jumper alert happened seven minutes before the first started.
An internal investigation is being conducted to see if the jumper had anything to do with the start of the Kincade fire. PG&E was responsible for last year’s Camp Fire, deadliest to occur in California.
As of Friday morning, the fire covered 34 square miles and was only 5% contained. Evacuation orders remained for the 2,000 people near the Sonoma County wine town of Geyserville, and 290 buildings were reported to have burned down.
Announcing the state of emergency on Thursday, Newsom said that California had received money from the federal government to assist firefighting efforts.
“We are grateful for the swift approval of our request to ensure all resources are available to support the heroic work of our firefighters and first responders working to contain this fire and keep local communities safe,” said Newsom.