In the U.S. state of California, students at Mount Saint Mary's University and NBA star LeBron James have a couple of things in common. One, they live near Los Angeles. Two, they've evacuated because of wildfires.
The one threatening the L.A. area broke out on Monday morning, in a place known for expensive homes and celebrities. Mandatory evacuations were issued, meaning residents were told to leave immediately, but this is just for one fire. Two other major fires are burning in California, with powerful winds literally fanning the flames. A blaze about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles has destroyed dozens of homes. It was mostly contained, meaning, block off as of last night, but that wasn't the case with the fire further north, near the San Francisco Bay Area.
That one forced the evacuations of almost 200,000 people. And California's largest utility company shut off electricity to 965,000 homes and businesses in northern California. It's trying to keep its equipment from causing new fires, as it's been blamed for doing in the past.
Pacific Gas and Electric says another shutoff could occur on Tuesday because of another strong and dry wind event in the forecast. California's fire season is often worsened by the hot dry winds that blow across the state. The Santa Ana winds blow westward across southern California, and can be at their worst in October. The Diablo winds blow northeast across northern California and can be at their worst in October.
"The New York Times" reports that this year's fire season hasn't been as bad as it has been for the previous two years, but that's little comfort to those witnessing the flames flare up.