100,000 evacuated due to fast moving wildfires in Southern California
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Fast-moving wildfires forced evacuation orders for more than 100,000 people and seriously injured two firefighters in Southern California on Monday as powerful winds across the state prompted power to be cut to hundreds of thousands to prevent utility equipment from sparking new blazes.
A smoky fire exploded in size to over 11 square miles (29 square kilometers) after breaking out around dawn in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.
Gusts pushed flames along brushy ridges in Silverado Canyon and near houses in the sprawling city of Irvine, home to about 280,000 residents.
There was no containment.
Two firefighters, one 26 and the other 31 years old, were critically injured while battling the blaze, according to the county’s Fire Authority, which didn’t provide details on how the injuries occurred.
They each suffered second- and third-degree burns over large portions of their bodies and were intubated at a hospital, officials said.
Helicopters dropping water and fire retardant were grounded for much of the afternoon because strong winds made it unsafe to fly.
However, a large air tanker and other aircraft began making drops again several hours before sunset.
Officials didn’t immediately know the cause of the fires.