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Literary Openings, Gadgets and News in Nigeria | Duketundesblog: US: Flames sweep over freeway; motorists run for their lives

Saturday, 18 July 2015

US: Flames sweep over freeway; motorists run for their lives

The fire, which erupted just after 2:30 p.m. and quickly grew to 3,500 acres, shut down the highway in both directions. By evening, it had destroyed 20 vehicles and at least four homes, and was bearing down on mountain communities. Most lanes of the 15 were open by Saturday morning, but hundreds of firefighters were still on the lines.

In a region where brush fires are a way of life, the scene on the main route to Las Vegas was surreal.
Many of those who fled their vehicles panicked, unsure of where to find safety as they watched the land around them burn. Cars, trucks and even a boat went up in flames on the freeway. Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft made dramatic drops of water and flame retardant.
“I've never seen anything like this before,” California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Carapia told The Times.

When traffic began to slow on the 15, Taya looked out a window and saw smoke, a single firetruck and weeds to the left of the highway. It didn't look like anything huge, she thought.
But then an ember hopped over to the right side of the freeway and she saw something that looked like a small firecracker going off.

“It got bigger and bigger and bigger,” she said. “The wind was crazy .... It was really scary.”
Taya, her teammates and the driver — the father of one of the girls — worried about leaving the van, so they watched nervously as smoke started to curl around them.
Then a car in the distance went up in flames. That's when Taya ditched her soccer gear, started to run and phoned her mother.
“It was honestly terrifying,” she said.
Officials said heavy winds mixed with dry chaparral and grass created a dangerous combination.
Shortly before the fast-moving blaze jumped the freeway and the cars caught fire, officials had to halt water drops because of a recreational drone flying nearby. It was the third time in recent weeks that firefighters were grounded because of drones. The devices could collide with aircraft that fly at low altitudes, authorities say.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Source: LATimes

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