No emergency outages after Santa Ana winds prompted Southern California fire danger warnings
California fire officials issued a red flag fire risk warning after Santa Ana winds triggered wildfires in at least two counties over the holiday weekend.
Officials in Santa Barbara County activated its hazardous area notification system at 2:30 a.m. Sunday as a precaution against increased fire risk. The department also issued a red flag fire risk warning after winds gusted up to 48 miles per hour at the Santa Barbara Airport.
A total of 22 wildfires broke out across eight counties and burned some 2,700 houses and nearly 100,000 acres. The flames destroyed about 19,000 acres and threatened 4,000 structures.
The most active fires Monday include 14 in Orange County and three in Los Angeles County.
The Orange County fires began Monday afternoon when a fire in Santa Ana destroyed about two dozen homes. Fire officials announced they had contained the blaze. In the northern part of the city, a home was evacuated because of a suspected gas explosion and a gas line was torn open before the fire jumped the neighbor’s fence.
“This is the worst fire we’ve seen in years,” said Orange County Fire Capt. John Casteneda. Fire officials said they had not found any gas lines or utility poles damaged in the blaze. Crews continued to hunt down any remaining hotspots.
The fire that started at 1:40 p.m. Monday burned about 30 acres and threatened two more homes, one of which was destroyed. Fire officials said an “unknown person” caused the fire.
The two fires were separated by a stretch of Santa Ana River, which had several water drops Wednesday.
On Sunday, the flames sparked a brush fire which prompted about 200 evacuations.
In Los Angeles, authorities said a small fire sparked by a tree limb at El Toro Canyon State Park began burning at 11:35 a.m., about a mile from Beverly Hills and Pico Canyon Regional Park.
The flames grew to 1,300 acres before firefighters were able to contain it with water and retard