Wildfires spread across California as hot, strong winds fan flames

Firefighters are battling a series of wildfires that broke out across California over the weekend, amid early summer heat and dry, gusty winds.

The National Weather Service warned that winds with “the potential for rapid fire spread” were forecast Monday morning across large swaths of the state, including the Antelope Valley and foothills, Santa Barbara County, Northern California’s wine country and the Sacramento Valley.

The state’s largest fire Monday morning was the Post fire in Los Angeles County, which burned 14,625 acres and was 8 percent contained, Cal Fire said. More than 1,100 firefighters and half a dozen helicopters are battling the flames.

The fire, along Highway 5 near Gorman, prompted the evacuation of 1,200 people in the Hungry Valley Park and Pyramid Lake areas.

The fire burned an auto repair shop, damaged another building and threatened other structures south and west of I-5, authorities said. Los Angeles County fire crews responded quickly, launching aerial assaults with water tankers and helicopters.

The Ventura County Fire Department and the United States Forest Service assisted in this effort.

More than 15 fires have broken out since Saturday in California and have burned more than 20,000 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection website.

Meanwhile, areas from Redding to Modesto are under a red flag warning through Tuesday morning due to a combination of summer heat, gusty winds, low humidity and unusually overnight temperatures hot.

In the North Bay Hills, areas affected by some of the state’s worst wildfires in recent memory, including Mt. St. Helena and Lake Berryessa are under a red flag alert until Monday evening.

In Sonoma County, the Point Fire has burned more than 1,000 acres and several structures south of Lake Sonoma. It was 20% contained as of Monday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fire broke out on Sunday afternoon.

“The fire activity calmed down overnight,” said Ben Nicholls, division chief of Cal Fire’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit. He added that winds are expected to be lighter than Sunday, which officials hope will help improve firefighting and allow them to increase protection near threatened structures.

An evacuation order and warning remain in effect for residents near Dry Creek Valley.

Meanwhile, a smaller fire in Lancaster burned 300 acres and several outbuildings after breaking out before 4 p.m. Sunday.

In Hesperia, more than 1,100 acres burned, prompting road closures in the area and an evacuation warning for nearby Arrowhead Equestrian Estates. The fire broke out before 7 p.m. Saturday, but as of Monday morning the fire was 30% contained after not seeing any growth since Sunday, according to CalFire and the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

A wildfire broke out in the Hollywood Hills just south of Runyon Canyon on Monday morning, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Not far from homes and hidden in an area that is difficult to access, it took firefighters and a water-dropping helicopter more than an hour to extinguish the flames, even though they only burned an area of ​​approximately 400 square feet, the department said in an alert. .

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