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LA Wildfire Explodes to 20,000 Acres

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Santa Clara, CANew evacuation orders were issued over the weekend for a wildfire in the Santa Clarita Valley area that has grown to more than 20,000 acres. The fire now threatens hundreds of homes in Sand and Placerita canyon areas.

An evacuation order was issued about 3:15 on Saturday afternoon, with at least 1,500 homes threatened, the Los Angeles County Fire Department told the LA Times.

The fire’s rapid growth has been fueled by “excessive heat, low humidity, extreme dry fuels that have not burned for several decades, and very rugged terrain,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who represents the area and attended a news conference held on the weekend.

The Sand fire, which was reported about 2 p.m. Friday, was at last report only 10% contained, according to fire officials. The fire grew from 2,000 acres to 5,500 acres overnight, then exploded into 20,000 by 7 p.m. Saturday as the winds began to shift.

L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby told the LA Times “Probably five years ago, based on our fire behavior, if we had a similar fire, we would have probably caught this fire at the ridge,". “Because this is the fifth year of an ongoing drought ... this fire has increased to 11,000 acres just overnight.''

The LA wildfire spread into new pockets of the mountainous area including steep hillsides and deep ravines which fire crews have great difficulty accessing.
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