Firefighters in Los Angeles worked overtime this weekend to contain the massive Saddleridge Fire. The fire is now more than 40 percent contained, but there is still a long way to go in extinguishing it for good.
The massive blaze began in the early hours of Friday morning, quickly sweeping through neighborhoods and causing multiple highway closures. According to a Facebook post by CAL FIRE, the fire burned some 8,000 acres of land by Sunday.
As CNN reported, some 100,000 people had been forced to evacuate across their homes in several Los Angeles neighborhoods as the fire moved quickly and erratically across the hills. The strong winds and low humidity didn’t help the situation either.
However, a new weather front rolled into Los Angeles on Saturday which assisted firefighters in their efforts by bringing down the winds and the temperature.
"With the arrival of the onshore weather pattern yesterday, firefighters will take advantage of lower wind speeds and directly attack any remaining hot spots," the Los Angeles Fire Department said in a statement.
According to the Los Angeles Times, several deaths have been attributed to the fire, including the death of one Porter Ranch resident, Aiman Elsabbagh, 54, who died during the fire after suffering a heart attack.
The Times also noted the passing of Los Angeles Park Rangers captain Albert Torres, a 40-year employee with the department. He was patrolling San Fernando Valley parks when he collapsed and died following a heart attack on Saturday morning.
Though firefighters continue to fight the blaze, experts are warning residents and travelers to Los Angeles to stay cautious. As of Monday morning, the air quality around Los Angeles remained “moderate,” meaning people sensitive to particle pollution may want to rethink their outdoor plans and avoid exercising outdoors.
"We ask everyone to remember that smoke and ash can be harmful to health, even for people who are healthy," Los Angeles County health officer Muntu Davis said in a press release. "If you can see smoke, soot, or ash, or you can smell smoke, pay attention to your immediate environment and take precautions to safeguard your health. These precautions are particularly important for children, older adults, and people with heart or lung diseases."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.