Evacuation order issued over massive wildfire near California city

An evacuation order has been issued for residents in parts of the City of Arcadia in Southern California as a massive wildfire was inching closer to the populated communities.

All residents north of Elkins Avenue and east of Santa Anita Avenue were ordered to evacuate due to dangerous wildfire conditions, Xinhua news agency quoted the city authorities as saying in a statement.

“Do not wait until it is too late. If you have not already done so, quickly gather your family, pets, important papers, medications, and any emergency supplies, and evacuate the area as soon as possible.

“If your family must split up, determine a designated meeting place to account for every member,” the statement added.

The blaze, dubbed Bobcat Fire, burning in the Angeles National Forest has scorched around 32,000 acres with only 6 per cent containment, according to InciWeb, an inter-agency all-risk incident web information management system.

“The fire continues to actively grow to the north and south, with keeping it out of the foothills communities as the top priority. Crews are constructing handline and dozerline where possible to stop the downhill progression,” InciWeb said, adding that helicopters are being used to support the ground forces as air conditions allow.

Over 800 firefighters are battling the blaze and a Red Cross evacuation centre has been established in Arcadia.

Evacuation warnings were also still in effect for other nearby cities of Monrovia, Bradbury, Sierra Madre, Altadena, Duarte and Pasadena.

Meanwhile, Southern California remained shrouded in smoke due to the raging wildfires.

The August Complex Fire, California’s largest ever, has merged to cover 875,059 acres, with only 25 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said.

In the San Bernardino Mountains, the 14,212 acre El Dorado Fire which occurred on September 5 was contained by 41 per cent, according to Cal Fire.

A smoke advisory remains in effect in most of Los Angeles County and parts of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties due to the Bobcat Fire.

President Donald Trump will visit California on Monday for a briefing with emergency response officials on the devastating wildfires racing through the region, according to local media.

A map updated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) showed air quality in the region during this weekend is expected to range from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children, elderly, and people with respiratory or heart disease.

In some areas near the wildfire scenes, the air quality is forecast as “unhealthy” level.

“Breathing in smoke can aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks, cause acute bronchitis, and increase the risk of respiratory infections,” the National Weather Service warned on its official website.

The SCAQMD issued a smoke advisory every day since the El Dorado and Bobcat fires erupted last week and brought ash, dust and debris across the region.

Additionally, smoke from wildfires in Northern and Central California is making its way south.

The fires have killed a total of 19 people and has so far scorched 3.2 million acres and destroyed some 4,000 structures across California.

About 16,570 firefighters were battling 29 major wildfires statewide Sunday.

The federal, state and local resources assigned to active wildfires include more than 2,200 fire engines, 388 water tenders, 304 bulldozers and 104 aircraft, according to Cal Fire.

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