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1,000 homes near Los Angeles threatened by enormous wildfire

A WILDFIRE scorching its way from the mountains to the desert north-east of Los Angeles threatened more than 1,000 homes today as crews battled dozens of other major blazes.

The Bobcat Fire was at times advancing at one-to-two miles per hour and continued to threaten the Mojave Desert town of Pearblossom after burning into the Antelope Valley foothill area, on the other side of the San Gabriel Mountains from LA.

The blaze that began on September 6 had destroyed or damaged at least 29 homes and other buildings, including some in the community of Juniper Hills, with the toll expected to rise to at least 80 buildings once damage assessment teams can complete their work this week, authorities said.

Cheryl Poindexter, who lost her desert home, told US media that the fire “came over the hill so hard and fast that I turned around and I barely got my eight dogs and my two parrots out.”

Firefighters also battled flare-ups near Mount Wilson, which overlooks greater Los Angeles and has a historic observatory founded more than a century ago.

The fire was fuelled by vegetation that hadn’t burnt in decades and was pushed by erratic winds over the weekend.

Numerous studies in recent years have linked US wildfires to global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas, with their impact exacerbated because climate change has made states such as California much drier. 

Near Mount Wilson, firefighters set more than a mile of fires designed to burn out the blaze’s fuel and act as a brake on its advance.

But with the fire only 13 per cent contained, firefighters weren’t taking anything for granted. Officials had revised that number down from 15 per cent after the blaze grew.

“We’ve got a fire here that is bigger than the city of Denver and it did it in two weeks,” said Sky Cornell of the LA County Fire Department.

About 1,100 homes and 4,000 residents remained under evacuation orders, fire officials said on Monday evening.

Evacuation warnings — meaning that residents should be prepared to flee if ordered — remained in effect for the LA suburb of Pasadena.

The blaze was one of more than two dozen major wildfires burning across California, including five of the largest in state history.

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