California burns in wildfires driven by wind and drought
Like fires that killed 44 people and destroyed 8,900 structures in Napa and Sonoma counties in October, the current blazes have broken out in areas more suburban than rural.
A smaller fire has burned on the northern edge of Los Angeles, threatening the Sylmar and Lakeview Terrace neighborhoods and billowing smoke that has created a breathing hazard for millions.
‘All we’ve got’ The Ventura County fire erupted 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Los Angeles, near Santa Paula, where 30,000 people live among citrus and avocado orchards and farm fields lining the Santa Clara River.
More than 27,000 people have evacuated, and one firefighter suffered bumps and bruises in a vehicle accident in Ventura County.
Aerial footage shows dozens of homes in one neighborhood burned to the ground and a large subdivision in jeopardy as the flames spit out embers that could spark new blazes.
Mansions and apartments alike have burned up.
The Vista del Mar Hospital, which specializes in mental health and behavioral therapy, smoldered after burning overnight.
Wildfires are a consistent danger for Californians, and insurers have paid out $3.3 billion (€2.8 billion) in claims so far this year.
Hardly any measurable rain has fallen in the region in the past six months.
"It’s been a five, six-year drought so the fuel is just tinder dry and just as ripe as can be for fire spread," Chief Lorenzen said on Tuesday.