Thousands of residents near Los Angeles were forced to evacuate Friday amid wildfires in the area.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said at a press conference that more than 23,000 homes are under an evacuation order, affecting 100,000 people.
“We need people to leave now while they can,” fire officials warned on Friday morning. “If you stay in [mandatory evacuation] areas we cannot guarantee that we will save you.”
Thousands of acres have already been burned.
“This is a very dynamic fire,” Los Angeles Fire chief Ralph Terrazas, adding that the fire is consuming 800 acres per hour. The fire started along the northern portion of the San Fernando Valley, reported USA Today.
The fire, known as the Saddleridge fire, was at “zero”-percent containment, he told reporters, adding that helicopters have been called in. Some 1,000 firefighters have also been deployed to battle the fire.
“Nobody is going home right away,” he said. “This event is going to take a few days.”
Schools and colleges in the area have been closed and key freeways were shut down, The Associated Press reported.
At least 25 homes have been damaged so far. Officials said the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, CBS News reported.
Much of Northern California, from San Francisco to the Oregon border, remains under a state “red flag” fire alert.
Firefighters have been able to quickly contain most of the other blazes that erupted across California.
The risk to life and property prompted Pacific Gas and Electric Co. cut power to about 730,000 customers, a move that California Gov. Gavin Newsom blamed on years of mismanagement by the utility.
By late Thursday, PG&E announced it had restored power to more than half of those affected, and about 312,000 remained without electricity.
PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January 2019, citing potential civil liabilities in excess of $30 billion from major wildfires linked to its transmission wires and other equipment.
As winds moved south, a similar cutoff was under way by Southern California Edison, which warned more than 173,000 customers that they could lose power.
Reuters contributed to this report.