Maria fire in California sends thousands fleeing

Firefighters work to control flames from a backfire during the Maria fire Friday in Santa Paula, Calif. Josh Edelson/Getty Images

Another fire erupted in Southern California on Thursday night and was growing Friday, destroying two buildings and leading authorities to order 7,500 people to evacuate.

As firefighters continued to battle several blazes up and down the state, the most recent, named the Maria fire, flared up in Ventura County.

Even though the fire remained uncontained, firefighters said they were confident it would not grow much larger.

The fire is swelling in part because of dry brush, which acts as fuel, and Santa Ana winds that pushed several other fires through rural and suburban areas in recent weeks. In addition to the 1,800 homes and businesses threatened by the Maria fire, avocado and citrus orchards are also at risk of being charred, said Mark Lorenzen, the Ventura County fire chief.

At least 500 firefighters were working to keep the flames at bay, and they were confident of containing the fire at 12,000 acres.

The Maria fire began only 12 miles away from the Easy fire, which neared the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum before being turned away by firefighters. That fire had burned about 18,000 acres by Friday morning and was 80% contained.

The state’s largest active fire, the Kincade fire in Sonoma County, remained at about 77,700 acres and was 68% contained. The fire has destroyed 352 homes and businesses and injured four people.

New York Times

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