October 13, 2008

2 Dead in Los Angeles Wildfires

Los Angeles officials confirmed Monday two people were killed in separate incidents linked to a pair of raging wildfires in the San Fernando Valley area.

The Mareck fire burning in the Los Angeles National Forest near Sunland and the Senson fire, which broke out near Porter Ranch, had burned more than 7,000 acres by mid-afternoon, destroyed an unknown number of homes and forced the evacuation of several suburban neighborhoods.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Vilaraigosa told a news conference the remains of an apparent transient had been found in a wood-and-cardboard shack burned by the Mareck blaze. KCBS-TV in Los Angeles said a fatal traffic accident on Interstate 118 was blamed on the Senson fire.

Dry Santa Ana winds whipped thorough the inland areas of Southern California Monday and were expected to continue into the night.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Frank Garrido warned residents in the path of the fire to be ready to hit the road at the first sign of trouble.

"It's a blow torch right now," Garrido told the Los Angeles Times. "If you are ahead of the fire, get your valuables and get out of the way."