Santa Catalina Wildfire Forces Evacuations

By: Stacey Tisdale
By: Stacey Tisdale
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Fire officials say several homes have now been burned on California's Santa Catalina Island as well as one commercial building.

Firefighters spent the night trying to get a handle on the fast moving flames that have already scorched more than 4,000 acres of Santa Catalina Island.

"In addition to the tough conditions the terrain, the darkness, they are also dealing with high wind."

The same conditions that fueled the wildfire earlier this week in Los Angeles Griffith Park.. fed the flames of the blaze burning 20 miles off Southern California's coast.

"There are reports of structures lost approaching Avalon
By this morning the LA County fire chief reported some homes had burned on the edge of the island's main city."

The fire began Thursday afternoon five miles east of the Island s airport in the sky.

Robert Wesson, Santa Catalina Evacuee, said "We went on a tour of the island and after we started looking around, oh my gosh we saw all these flames coming."

Authorities urged and in some cases ordered evacuations. The Catalina Express made runs through the night.. ferrying visitors and residents to the mainland.

"We went down to town but the smoke was really bad it was too heavy to stay on the island, then they evacuated us by boat
to get people off Catalina a major effort is underway to get fire crews and equipment to the fire. Blackhawk and Chinhook helicopters are flying in fire strike teams. Fire trucks loaded onto military hovercraft at Camp Pendleton in order to get to the island.

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