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FIRES CONTINUE TO SWEEP ACROSS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

In the past week, several fast-moving fires have forced thousands of Californians to evacuate their homes. The fires swept across the southern part of the state destroying buildings and taxing fire crews that have been working for days.

A 4,100-acre fire in San Diego County was only 15 percent contained as of late Friday night. The evacuees told of swiftly encroaching flames that left at least six people injured, prized racehorses dead and dozens of homes in ruins. Resident Paul Anderson left his home in San Diego County on Thursday and said, “I got the ‘Get the hell out of here’ evacuation while four cop cars were rolling around the neighborhood saying, ’Get out!’ ”

There have been several more fires burning in Southern California, including a flare-up near Alpine in Cleveland National Forest and a blaze in Ventura County that has killed at least one person, burned 143,000 acres and destroyed more than 400 buildings — including at least 150 homes. The Ventura fire has been threatening homes from the exclusive enclave of Ojai to the hills of Ventura. Officials said that by late Friday conditions had improved, and they allowed many residents of the cities of Ventura and Santa Paula to return home.

A federal state of emergency has been declared in California and President Trump ordered additional aid be sent to assist them. Trump’s declaration allows federal agencies to coordinate the relief efforts. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the first known, fire-related death this week. The medical examiner said in a statement that the remains of Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula, were found at the site of a car crash on an evacuation route.

Capt. Israel Pinzon, a spokesman for the state firefighting agency said, “This fire just keeps on going on us.”

Capt. Kendal Bortisser, a spokesman for the state firefighting agency said, “We’re throwing a lot of equipment at this fire right now, both from the air and from the ground.” The size of the fires ranged from eight to 15 acres in the Cleveland National Forest area.

A larger fire broke out near Bonsall where firefighting crews in San Diego County were also contending with. Dianne Jacob the chairwoman of San Diego County’s board of supervisors said, “We’re not out of the woods yet. We need to stay vigilant and be prepared.”

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