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Wildfires erupt in Southern California

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 11, 2019 - Duration: 01:49s

Wildfires erupt in Southern California

Firefighters are battling multiple blazes across California, including a ferocious blaze in Riverside County, as the state comes under a red flag fire alert.

Sareena Dayaram reports

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Wildfires erupt in Southern California

A ferocious wildfire in Southern California tore through homes on Thursday (October 10).

Fire officials say it caused 'numerous medical emergencies.'

What's being called the Sandalwood fire is one of more than 200 wildfires that erupted across the state in 24 hours.

It broke out in the community of Calimesa,east of Los Angeles and quickly engulfed more than 500 acres of Riverside County.

State officials say hot, strong winds have signalled the peak of fire season in California.

Meteorologists expect the windy conditions to continue into Friday.

Across California, responders are battling a number of blazes under a state 'red flag' fire alert.

On top of that, hundreds of thousands of people in Northern California are on day two of living without power.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MORAGA RESIDENT, MARGY BAILEY, SAYING: "It was super scary umm we woke up and heard the power has been out since they turned everything off last night.

I woke up to hearing the horns blaring in the neighbourhood, the car horns of our neighbours trying to get out of the neighbourhood." That's because California's largest utility, PG&E, shut down power to prevent sparking more fires.

It's left more than half a million homes and workplaces without electricity.

The company's come under criticism for that decision- -including from California governor Gavin Newsom.

On Wednesday he slammed PG&E for 'greed' - putting profits ahead of protecting the grid from dangerous winds.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR, GAVIN NEWSOM, SAYING: This is not from my perspective a climate change story, as much as a story about greed and mismanagement over the course of decades.

Neglect.

A desire to advance not public safety but profits.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January.

It's facing ten of billions of dollars in liabilities for its role in sparking last year's Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive blaze to sweep California in history.

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