By

Nicholas Sakelaris & Danielle Haynes
Oct. 11 (UPI) — Four fast-moving wildfires swept through Southern California Friday, destroying buildings and forcing thousands of people to evacuate as humidity dropped and winds picked up, fire officials said.

The largest is the Saddleridge Fire near Slymar that burned 4,700 acres as of Friday morning and spread to the nearby Newhall Pass, Granada Hills and Porter Ranch. Firefighters had no containment of the fire by early Friday.

“This is a very dynamic fire,” Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said.

Officials said the blaze destroyed at least 25 structures but crews were unable to get an accurate count. One civilian had a heart attack during the emergency and died at the hospital, while a firefighter sustained a minor eye injury, fire officials said.

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The fire started about 10 p.m. Thursday near the 210 Freeway, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. A few hours later, the fire jumped the freeway and forced the California Highway Patrol to shut down the roadway.

Fire officials said residents in Granada Hills, Porter Ranch and Chatsworth should be prepared to evacuate. Several homes in Granada HIlls caught fire Friday morning. Mandatory evacuations were also ordered for Oakridge Estates.

About 12,700 homes were evacuated in the path of the Saddleridge Fire. Evacuation centers for people and pets were set up in Sylmar and Granada Hills.

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The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power shut off power on the major transmission lines but rerouted them to avoid widespread outages. About 2,500 customers were without electricity in Southern California.

Fire crews are also fighting three smaller fires in Southern California — including one in Calimesa that’s burned 500 acres and one in the Moreno Valley that’s blackened 350. Both are about 10 percent contained. A fire in Newbury Park has burned nearly 100 acres and is 25 percent.

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