California fires tear into LA as Sonoma inferno rages

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Emergency responders are seeking to contain a raging wildfire on the west side of Los Angeles that is threatening the historic Getty Center museum, and has already forced thousands of area residents to evacuate.

Over 500 firefighters are battling the Getty Fire, as it being called, amid weather conditions that are fueling its rapid expansion after it broke out early Monday morning around 1:40 a.m.

It has grown to more than 500 acres (1.6 sq km), and is surging westward as high winds continue to tear through the area. Over 10,000 structures have been placed under mandatory evacuation orders by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but said firefighters are battling the inferno in "some of the most challenging topography of Los Angeles."

He urged residents in the area to "get your loved ones, get your pets, and get out."

"The only thing you cannot replace is you and your family,” he said during a morning press briefing.

Lebron James, the Los Angeles Lakers forward, said he and his family had been evacuated from their home early Monday morning as they searched for a place to stay for the night.

"Man these LA 🔥 aren’t no joke," James wrote on Twitter, using shorthand to refer to the city of Los Angeles. "I 🙏🏾 for all the families in the area that could be affected by these 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 now! Pretty please get to safety ASAP."

Meanwhile in northern California, first responders are continuing efforts to bring the massive 66,000 acre (267 sq km) Kincade Fire under control after it erupted last week. But weather conditions have made the task herculean for firefighters as the blaze has only been brought under 5% containment.

Winds had been surging on Sunday to over 70 mph (113 kph), reaching levels akin to a Category 1 hurricane and spreading the blaze across northern California's wine country.

Over 4,000 fire personnel are seeking to contain the Kincade Fire's spread.

Much of California remains under red-flag conditions. Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed Sunday a statewide state of emergency, saying the state is "deploying every resource available" to combat the fires.

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