Flames and smoke near the 118 freeway in Porter Ranch — Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times
Erratic Santa Ana winds are fueling wildfires in Southern California, forcing thousands to flee their homes and destroying dozens of buildings, including some homes.
A homeless man and his dog were killed when the makeshift shack they were sleeping in was overrun by flames near Lake View Terrace in the East San Fernando Valley.
That’s the so-called Marek fire, which kicked up Sunday morning near the Angeles National Forest. Then overnight and this morning the devil winds blew wild, up to 65 miles an hour in some areas, and the Marek fire grew to 53 hundred acres. Dozens of mobile homes and vehicles have been lost in this fire. Authorities say arson is suspected.
On the northwest end of the valley in Porter Ranch, another wildfire exploded and is being whipped along by those strong winds. It started around 10:30 this morning and quickly grew to 3 thousand acres. A number of neighborhoods were evacuated. Several homes were lost.
Also, there’s a report that a motorist was killed in an accident on a smoke shrouded freeway.
Late this afternoon, in an interview on KNX newsradio 1070, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The governor, who plans to tour the fire lines tomorrow morning, says,”… more than four thousand people (have been) evacuated.”