Wildfires in southern California are once again forcing residents to evacuate their homes, with more than 18 homes reportedly destroyed so far in the Santa Clarita Valley in Los Angeles county. The Sand Fire, as it has been called, is currently only 10 percent contained – and it still poses a threat to thousands of homes in the area. Government officials had originally planned to allow residents to re-enter their homes over the weekend, but shifting winds caused the fire to grow faster than expected.

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So far, the Sand Fire has completely destroyed 18 homes and damaged one other in the neighborhoods of Sand Canyon, Bear Divide, and Little Tujunga. Tens of thousands of residents were forced to evacuate over the weekend. Currently, another 2,000 homes in the town of Acton are in the fire’s path, if it maintains its current course.

“That fire came through like a freight train,” John Tripp, incident commander with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, told the local ABC affiliate. “We’ve never seen a fire come into Sand Canyon like that and neither have those residents.”

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Los Angeles County sheriff’s department found a burned body in a car within the evacuation zone over the weekend, according to spokesperson Lt. Rob Hahnlein. He said it’s too early in the investigation to make a determination about the fire’s relationship to the person’s death. KTLA reported, though, that the man’s home was among those that were destroyed by the rapidly moving fire.

A virtual army of firefighting teams have been dispatched to battle the blaze, including 1,673 firefighters, 122 engines, eight fixed-wing air-tankers, and six heavy heli-tankers. As of Monday morning, the U.S. Forest Service is reporting that the fire is only about 10 percent contained, leaving a lot of potential damage on the horizon as dry conditions and shifting winds help fuel the destructive force. Outside of the direct threat from the flames, the Sand Fire has contributed to LA’s poor air quality, as this week’s gusty winds continue to spread ash and debris from the fires throughout the county.

Via LA Times

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