The Latest: Fire witness reports sparks near electric lines

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The Saddleridge fire flares up near a firefighter in Sylmar, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

Los Angeles arson investigators say a witness reported seeing sparks or flames coming from a power line near where a wildfire is believed to have started.

Peter Sanders, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, says investigators are seeking additional witnesses.

At least two people told LA TV stations that they had seen fire near power lines.

Southern California Edison says it owns the transmission tower that was shown on KABC-TV.

A spokeswoman for the utility says it could take a long time to determine the cause of the fire.

The fire that broke out Thursday destroyed more than a dozen homes and led to evacuation orders for 100,000 people.

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5:10 p.m.

A utility says its does not anticipate damage from a wildfire to wells where it stores natural gas in a massive underground facility.

Southern California Gas Co. spokesman Chris Gilbride says the utility is not aware of damage Friday afternoon and believes vegetation clearance will protect the tops of wells.

The Aliso Canyon facility on the edge of Los Angeles stores natural gas more than a mile below ground in depleted oil wells.

A blowout at the facility four years ago drove residents from 8,000 homes in Porter Ranch and nearby neighborhoods for nearly four months as methane leaked uncontrollably.

Porter Ranch is under evacuation orders from the fire that has destroyed two dozen homes is blamed for one death.

Gilbride says multiple firefighters and engines are stationed at the facility.

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2:25 p.m.

The wildfire burning on the northern edge of Los Angeles has grown to more than 11 square miles (28 square kilometers) but there is also some containment.

Officials say the fire is 13% surrounded Friday afternoon.

Authorities have not updated the initial tally of 25 homes damaged. Fire Capt. Branden Silverman says damage assessments are continuing.

Travel through the area remains difficult. The California Highway Patrol says sections of two interstates and one state highway remain closed.

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11:45 a.m.

People who fled the wind-driven wildfire burning in Los Angeles describe getting out of the area as it spread rapidly.

Melissa Moffett was pet-sitting for friends in the Grenada Hills area Thursday night when she went outside before going to bed and saw fire coming down a hill.

Moffett says she quickly loaded three dogs and four cats into a car.

One cat slipped its leash and ran off, but she and the other animals reached an evacuation center an hour later.

Jonathan Stahl was driving home when he saw a plume of smoke and went to a mobile home park in Sylmar to evacuate his 91-year-old grandmother, Beverly Stahl.

She, her daughter and nephew quickly collected clothes, medication and their two dogs and left with Jonathan Stahl, ending up at an evacuation center at 2 a.m. Friday.

Beverly Stahl says, “We’re all alive, nobody’s hurt.”

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10:30 a.m.

Another death has been confirmed at the scene of wildfires in Southern California.

Cal Fire spokeswoman Cathey Mattingly says a person was killed in a fire that swept through a mobile home park Thursday in Riverside County east of Los Angeles. Mattingly says there were also some injuries but she does not know the number or severity.

Seventy-four structures were destroyed.

The fire is about 823 acres (333 hectares) and 10% contained.

In Los Angeles, a man went into cardiac arrest and died at the scene of a raging wildfire that broke out late Thursday.

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8:30 a.m.

Los Angeles authorities say about 100,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes because of a wildfire on the northern edge of the city in the San Fernando Valley area.

Authorities say the wind-driven wildfire burning along the northern tier of the city has damaged at least 25 homes and that 23,000 residences are under evacuation orders.

Police Chief Michel Moore says the evacuation encompasses about 100,000 people.

Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas says the fire broke out around 9 p.m. Thursday and exceeds 7 square miles (18 square kilometers) Friday morning.

There is zero percent containment and the fire continues to threaten homes in the city as well as unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Terrazas told reporters that a man died of cardiac arrest but he did not have any details of the circumstances.

Schools and colleges in the area are closed and key freeways are shut down.

Water dropping helicopters that worked through the night have been bolstered by firefighting airplanes since daybreak.

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6:30 a.m.

A wildfire is raging along the northern border of Los Angeles as powerful Santa Ana winds sweep Southern California.

The Los Angeles Fire Department estimates 12,700 homes are under evacuation orders early Friday in neighborhoods along the northern tier of the San Fernando Valley at the foot of the Santa Susana Mountains.

The Fire Department says homes have been destroyed but there’s no estimate of the number.

It’s the latest of several destructive that have erupted in Southern California amid critical fire weather conditions.

In the inland region east of Los Angeles, a wind-driven fire raged through a mobile home park in the city of Calimesa, destroying 74 structures and damaging others.

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10:30 p.m.

Don Turner’s 89-year-old mother was missing Thursday night after a wind-driven wildfire sparked by burning trash swept through a Southern California mobile home park, destroying dozens of residences.

Lois Arvickson called her son from her cellphone to say she was evacuating shortly after the blaze was reported in the Calimesa area, Turner said while with family members at an evacuation center.

He says his mother said she was getting her purse and getting out. But then the line went dead.

A short time later the neighbors saw the garage on fire, but they don’t know if she’d managed to escape.

Riverside County fire officials say they’re still trying to determine if anybody is unaccounted for after 74 structures were decimated.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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