Wildfires tearthrough southern CA

Two major wildfires have forced the evacuation of more than a thousand residents in the area of Fontana, California, according to Karen Terrill, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF).

BY TRAVIS DUNN | FONTANA, Calif. | October 24, 2003



"We've got hot, dry, windy conditions in most of the state."

—Karen Terrill


Two major wildfires have forced the evacuation of more than a thousand residents in the area of Fontana, California, according to Karen Terrill, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF).

The fire there, dubbed the Grand Prix Fire, has destroyed more than 4,000 acres, caused the evacuation of about 1,000 people and burned one home. More than 400 homes are currently threatened, Terrill said, and more than 1,400 firefighters are working to contain the fire, which is only 17 percent contained. Two major roads in the area were closed.

"It's just out of control. It's being propelled by some really aggressive winds," she said. "We are evacuating people for their safety. It's not something that people want to be around."

Several emergency shelters have been set up in the area for evacuated residents, according to Terrill.

Another fire, the Roblar 2 Fire, which was sparked in Camp Pendleton near San Diego, has moved into the De Luz Canyon and has consumed another 4,000 acres. More than 1,300 firefighters have managed to get the fire under 40 percent containment.

Roblar 2, however, is currently not threatening any homes, according to Terrill, although the nearby community of De Luz is keeping a wary watch on the blaze.

These two fires follow upon several other blazes that charred forested areas this week, and are the result of extremely dry condition all across the state, Terrill said.

Except for coastal areas, and the San Francisco Bay area, almost the entire state of California is under some kind of fire watch, and the forecast of strong, dry Santa Ana winds are not likely to improve the situation, she said.

"We've got hot, dry, windy conditions in most of the state," she said.

No deaths have been reported and only a handful of minor injuries have been attributed to the fires.

In Reche Canyon, the Pass Fire was contained Thursday night, after it burned 2,857 acres, five homes and 21 outbuildings, according to Joanne Evans, a CDF spokeswoman in Riverside County.

Another fire near Piru Lake has burned a thousand acres of U.S. Forest Service land, and is headed toward a nearby wilderness area, said Barry Peckham, spokesman for the Los Padres National Forest. No major communities are threatened by the fire, he said, and firefighters had contained 10 percent of the fire by midday Friday.


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