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  • 24.03.2019

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Powerful winds raise California fire risk

Powerful winds raise California fire risk

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While crews got a break from slightly calmer winds on the lines of the enormous blaze threatening Santa Barbara County, much of the rest of Southern California was buffeted by powerful gusts that increased the wildfire risk across the region.

The National Weather Service forecast red flag conditions for extreme fire danger through Sunday evening for Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Trees came down after wind gusts topped 113km/h in mountain areas and 80km/h along the coast.
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With winds threatening to bring down power lines and spark more wildfires, Southern California Edison is considering turning off electricity to some parts of Malibu. Utility spokesman Paul Griffo says the coastal city is particularly vulnerable if strong Santa Ana winds continue to batter the area.

The fire has burned more than 700 homes and currently threatens communities in Santa Barbara County.

Mandatory evacuations remained in place around Montecito and neighbouring Summerland as firefighters sprayed water on to hot spots sparked by wind-blown embers.
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The 1085 sq km blaze called the Thomas Fire was moving rapidly westwards and crested Montecito Peak, just north of Montecito. Known for its star power, the enclave boasts the mansions of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and many other celebrities.
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