California Fires

October 25, 2019
FIGHTING THE FLAMES Firefighters battle the Saddleridge Fire, in Southern California, on October 11.
DAVID SWANSON—AP PHOTO

A wildfire began on October 10 in Southern California. More than 100,000 people were forced to leave their homes. The Saddleridge Fire tore across more than 12 square miles around Los Angeles. It damaged at least 58 buildings.

The fire began in the evening. By the next morning, more than 1,000 firefighters were battling it. By October 13, the fire had been contained.

The cause of the Saddleridge Fire is unknown. It was fueled by dry plants and trees. They were brittle after a hot California summer. The fire was then spread by powerful winds. “The embers from the wind have been traveling a significant distance, which causes another fire to start,” Ralph Terrazas said. He’s the Los Angeles fire chief.

Other parts of California were also on high alert for fires. In Northern California and the central part of the state, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company switched off electricity to more than 2 million people. This was done to prevent fires. High winds increased the chances that power lines would fall and ignite a blaze.