Thousands flee deadly CA wildfire

10,000 homes threatened as CA firefighters battle blaze along a 19-mile front and evacuations urged in Utah.

BALTIMORE | August 31, 2009


A massive wildfire continued to rage Monday in the mountains north of Los Angeles after claiming several lives and threatening as many as 10,000 homes. Meanwhile in Utah, emergency officials were urging residents to leave in the face of another rapidly spreading wildfire.

Emergency officials said they expect the Station Fire, now stretching 19-miles from east to west, will continue to spread. It is only 5% contained and is expected to burn thousands more before firefighters can get a hold on it. Hot temperatures and low humidity are making it difficult for firefighters to contain.

Eighteen structures have been destroyed and many more are expected to become victims of the Station Fire.

Two firefighters died when their vehicle rolled down a hill. The firefighters were working on Mt. Gleason in the Angeles National Forest. In addition, at least three residents have been injured by the fire and airlifted to area hospitals and fire officials are concerned others may have been injured but not yet located.

Even people who are not facing evacuations are being impacted by the smoke produced from the fire. A spokesperson for the South Coast Air Quality Management District said the air quality in the western San Gabriel Valley was "very unhealthful" Sunday.

The Station Fire is the most serious of nearly a dozen wildfires burning across the state.

But California is not alone.

In New Harmony, Utah, emergency officials were going door-to-door Sunday to encourage residents to evacuate in the face of a growing wildfire that has already burned three homes and is threatening dozens more.

The Mill Flat Fire has already consumed more than 10,000 acres and is expected to continue to spread with forecasts of wind gusts of 25 mph or more. About 150 residents are already in area shelters.

Monica Olivas contributed to this story.


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