‘It takes one ember … to start another brush fire': Extreme winds put California fire officials on high alert – USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — Gusty winds are threatening to further spread wildfires that are already burning up and down California on Wednesday, putting thousands of residents on alert for another wave of evacuation orders.

As the Getty Fire threatened 7,000 homes, Los Angeles officials stationed crews at fire-prone locations in an effort to quickly extinguish any new blazes. “Extreme” red-flag warnings took effect at 11 p.m. Tuesday and were expected to persist into Thursday night, bringing the potential for “rapid fire spread” and “extreme fire behavior,” according to the National Weather Service.

“It takes one ember, just one ember downwind, to start another brush fire, so I encourage all people in the city of Los Angeles and the neighboring communities to register for alerts,” said Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas.

Low humidity, dry fuel and sustained winds up to 55 mph conspired to test firefighters, who had contained 15% of the 656-acre Getty Fire by Tuesday evening. The flames had injured one firefighter and destroyed or damaged 18 buildings.  

Firefighters climb up a hill after putting out a hotspot behind Tigertail Road. The Getty fire started along the 405 Freeway near the Getty Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, 2019.

Mandatory evacuation orders were still in place in some areas, and Terrazas warned nearby neighborhoods to be prepared to flee. 

In Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, firefighters battling the Kincade Fire faced another round of the “Diablo” winds. Sustained gusts between 20 and 30 mph could fan the 118-square-mile blaze, but pose less of a threat than winds recorded over the weekend. 

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