21:28 GMT +312 November 2019
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    A plane drops fire retardant on the Maria Fire in the early morning in Santa Paula

    Videos: Raging Maria Fire in Southern California Torches 8,000 Acres Overnight

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    At least 7,500 people were ordered to evacuate Thursday in the Los Angeles, California, area Thursday after a new blaze, the Maria Fire, broke out and spread across more than 8,000 acres.

    Authorities announced Thursday night that at least 1,800 structures were affected by the wildfire. Firefighting efforts were impeded by what appeared to be a civilian drone. By Friday morning, the fire was “completely uncontained,” NPR reported.

    ​"Earlier this evening, our firefighting aerial efforts were hampered by someone flying an unmanned aerial system in the area," Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said in a press briefing Friday. "This created quite a dangerous situation. Not only is it illegal, but it hampers our firefighting efforts."

    ​Several school districts in the area canceled classes Friday due the Maria Fire. A smaller fire, dubbed Easy, also broke out Wednesday in Ventura County and has burned down at least 1,800 acres. However, authorities say that the Easy Fire is about 80% contained.

    ​Local residents shared shocking photos and videos of the fire on their social media accounts. The fire is expected to destroy millions of dollars worth of avocados, oranges and lemons, authorities announced Friday. Ventura County is one of the region’s main agricultural producers.

    ​"We are actively engaged in structure protection as well as protecting the agricultural assets there with avocados and citrus orchards that have significant values," Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters Thursday night, NBC News reported.

    ​Firefighters have also been scrambling to contain the Kincade Fire in Northern California that broke out last week. It has burned down at least 77,000 acres and obliterated around 350 structures, ABC News reported. The blaze is about 65% contained but is not expected to be fully contained until the end of this week. 

    ​The Tick Fire in Southern California destroyed at least 29 structures and forced tens of thousands of residents to flee for safety; however, the blaze has since been contained by officials. Tick Fire-related evacuation orders were lifted early Thursday.

    ​On October 27, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency across all of California. 

    “We are deploying every resource available, and are coordinating with numerous agencies as we continue to respond to these fires. It is critical that people in evacuation zones heed the warnings from officials and first responders, and have the local and state resources they need as we fight these fires,” Newsom said in a press release last week.


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