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California wildfire burns 10,000 acres in 3 hours, hundreds of homes evacuated

A serious wildfire north of Los Angeles has led to hundreds of evacuations after growing exponentially in just a matter of hours Wednesday.

Officials said the Lake Fire broke out just after 3:30 p.m. PT, and quickly grew to 100 acres in size. Just three hours later, the fire had burned over 10,000 acres.

The fire is burning on federal park lands close to Santa Clarita, which sits just half an hour north of Los Angeles. The fire was still zero per cent contained as the sun fell.

Read more: Home destroyed as California wildfires prompt new evacuations

The communities of Lake Hughes and Three Points have been particularly affected, where between 400 and 500 homes are under evacuation orders, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

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No damage to structures have been confirmed as of Wednesday night.

“This is a major fire,” David Richardson with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said at a press conference Wednesday evening.

“We’ll be here throughout the night. It’s very resource tasking, and we will be here for multiple days to come.”

Robert Garcia, fire chief of Los Angeles National Forest Service, said the last time a fire of this magnitude had hit the area was 1968.

“This fire is spreading quickly and intensely,” he said.

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Both departments are being assisted by firefighters from neighbouring counties as well as local departments throughout Los Angeles County.

Images from the scene of the fire showed a fire tornado forming due to the intensity of the flames as they moved through the dry brush.

Fire officials had noted that while the fire itself was intense, typical growth factors like winds were relatively calm Wednesday, noting the fire’s behaviour was “unusual” coming so early in the wildfire season.

California’s wildfire season typically lasts between August and November, making the Lake Fire one of the first major wildfires of this year.

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In 2018, nearly 1.9-million acres were burned in what was the worst wildfire season in the state’s history, killing over 100 people, including six firefighters. Last year’s season saw far less destruction with over 250,000 acres burned, yet five people died.

Timelapse video shows spread of wildfire in Santa Barbara, CA
Timelapse video shows spread of wildfire in Santa Barbara, CA