California wildfire triples in intensity; more than 20,000 residents evacuated

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LOS ANGELES — A California wildfire is raging out of control!

"Within a matter of just a couple of minutes, maybe two to three minutes, it was just like a wildfire straight at us," evacuated resident Leslie Hopkins said.

So far, a massive blaze just north of Los Angeles has tripled in size over the weekend, scorching more than 33,000 acres and leading to the evacuation of more than 20,000 residents in 10,000 homes! The fire started Friday afternoon along the 14 Freeway, but the cause of this massive blaze remains under investigation.

"I don't know if my house is still standing or not," resident Lois Wash said.

Firefighters said it is the fifth consecutive year of an ongoing drought, which has taken its toll on the local landscape.

"These are not normal times," Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said. "So when we say 'evacuate', that means 'Evacuate!'"

Officials say the blaze is only 10 percent contained, as nearly 3,000 firefighters, staff and crew members are fighting the mammoth "sand fire" that has quickly and viciously torched thousands of acres.

Firefighters said the wildfire is spreading "like a freight train" plowing through the terrain and is averaging the destruction of 10,000 acres a day — or the equivalent of 10,000 football fields per day!

Everyone is grateful, at least, for what has been saved.

As John Tripp of the Los Angeles County Fire Department put it, "We've probably — over three days — saved at least 2,000 homes that were directly in the path and threat of the fire."