(LOS ANGELES) — An apocalyptic scene is emerging in Southern California after fast-moving wildfires broke out overnight, leaving two dead, destroying homes and forcing residents to flee.
The blazes are closing some schools and even crippling Los Angeles freeways, leaving frantic drivers in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The Saddleridge Fire has consumed over 4,700 acres in the San Fernando valley, just north of Los Angeles, and is 0 percent contained.
It erupted at about 9 p.m. Thursday and is moving at 800 acres per hour, officials said.
A cause has not been determined.
The LAPD said 23,000 homes and 100,000 people are impacted by mandatory evacuation orders.
With roadways blocked, some residents fled their homes on foot at 3 a.m.
The Saddleridge Fire has caused at least one death. A man died when he had a heart attack while trying to fight the fire himself, according to the Los Angeles County sheriff.
The blaze is unpredictable, LAPD Chief Michel Moore warned, and he urged those in evacuation areas to follow orders to leave. Residents will not be allowed back in until it is safe, he said.
Another deadly Southern California blaze is the Sandalwood fire, which is burning in Riverside County, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.
One person has died and dozens of structures are destroyed, officials said. The Sandalwood fire has burned over 800 acres and is 10 percent contained.
At least nine fires are burning in the Golden State Friday morning, including five in Southern California, fueled by gusty winds blowing through the region.
Wind gusts reached 60 mph in Los Angeles County and 70 mph in San Bernardino County Friday morning. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an extreme fire danger from Los Angeles to San Diego through Friday afternoon.
In Los Angeles, residents need to be prepared for the weather conditions to last through Sunday, Moore said.
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