Millions without electricity. One hundred thousand ordered to evacuate. A major highway through Los Angeles was closed most of the day due to burnt hills.
The California forest fire season disrupts daily life and highlights the weaknesses of official responses to climate disasters, even in a rich and technologically advanced state.
At least two people reportedly died following a fire on Friday in the suburbs of Los Angeles. In the fire of Saddleridge, north of the city, fire officials said 13 buildings had been destroyed, including many houses. 18 others were damaged. In the east of the city, a fire that ravaged a mobile home park in Calimesa destroyed and destroyed 74 buildings.
The fires in Los Angeles have burned, with electricity being restored in almost all of the two million inhabitants of the northern part of the state disconnected by Pacific Gas & Electric Wednesday, seeking to prevent a repeat of the last two years, when his equipment triggered a deadly disaster, destructive fires in windy weather.
Power outages, which affected parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, have put medically vulnerable people at risk, highlighted the lack of preparedness by municipal authorities to help residents at risk, and pushed Governor Gavin Newsom to criticize PG & E for "greed" and "mismanagement".
The region is on the alert as the powerful winds of Santa Ana bring the dry air of the desert into a dry landscape that requires only a spark. Fire officials have warned that they are expecting more intense and devastating wildfires due, in part, to climate change.
Edwin Bernard, 73, is no stranger to the flames that have threatened his corner of Los Angeles, but they have never arrived so fast or so close to home before.
He and his wife were among some 100,000 people sentenced to leave their homes as a result of a forest fire caused by the wind that struck on Thursday night in the San Fernando Valley. It spread to the west through hilly hilly areas on the outskirts of Los Angeles, the second largest city in the country, with powder debris and was contained only 13% Friday night.
A middle-aged man who was near the fire entered cardiac arrest and died after apparently attempting to fight the fire himself, authorities said.
Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph M Terrazas said he flew over and saw "hundreds or even thousands of homes" with charred yards where firefighters had just stopped the flames.
The fire swept the hill on the other side of the street, said Bernard, and spewed coals over his house for 30 years, scraping dry grass and burning trees and bushes . He and his wife rushed to leave, leaving behind drugs, photo albums and their four cats.
"It was all a curtain of fire," said Bernard. "There was fire on all sides. We had to leave. "
Bernard's house and cats survived. His garden was charred.
By the end of Friday, the winds had eased, but the National Weather Service still warned of an extreme fire risk in some southern areas due to the very high humidity levels. low.
Interstate 5, the main north-south corridor, was closed for much of Friday. Even after the return of motorists in the evening, heaps of hills continued to burn.
Jonathan Stahl was driving home when he saw the smoke. He immediately headed to a mobile home park in Sylmar, east of Los Angeles, where his grandmother and aunt live together. The park was almost destroyed in 2008 when one of the city's most destructive fires ravaged 500 homes.
Stahl helped her grandmother, 91-year-old Beverly Stahl, and her aunt take away clothes, medicine and their two dogs. They saw flames in the distance while they were moving away.
"We just packed what we could as fast as we could," Stahl said during an evacuation at the Sylmar Recreation Center, massaging her grandmother's shoulders while sitting in a wheelchair with a Red Cross cover on his lap. "If we had dragged around, we would have had problems. Very big problem.
Several park residents have been reported missing. Lois Arvickson's 89-year-old family feared her death in the fire that ravaged her home. Arvickson had called her son to tell him that she was evacuating.
"She said that she was picking up her purse and that she was coming out of it. The line has been cut, "said Don Turner.
He added that the neighbors had seen his mother in his garage as the flames approached. They then saw the garage on fire. His car was still parked in the driveway.