Millions Driven from Homes as California Fires Continue to Burn

Ron Karlen
Ron Karlen
Penny Ulbert
Penny Ulbert

By Jay Gray

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (KHNL) - Firefighters continue to battle walls of wind-whipped flames that have already consumed an area larger than New York City. An estimated one million people have now been driven from their homes.

Firefighters are going after hot spots, but can do little to contain the wildfires until the winds drop.

At least two deaths are blamed on the fires, while another 45 people have been injured, including 16 firefighters.

And to get a better view on the fire, NASA has released images it took from outer space.

The first picture was taken on Monday from NASA's aqua satellite. It shows the fires highlighted in red and you can see smoke heading out over the Pacific Ocean.

More than a dozen wildfires fueled by Santa Ana winds continue to burn in Southern California.

Sunset and the smoke and haze here is no where close to fading away. Southern California is still on fire. Even after an all-out assault for the second full day.

By teams in the air and on the ground, this raging wildfire, continues to grow.  Showering embers, not the kind of rain they so desperately need.

As strike teams continue to struggle against the overwhelming conditions.

"They told us the winds would be blowing up to five or six days so we're trying to pace ourselves," said firefighter Ron Karlen.

It's been a devastating pace so far. As many as 300,000 acres have been scorched. More than 1,200 homes reduced to ashes..

And the number of evacuees has raced to more than half-a-million. But those are just statistics, raw data. This is the raw emotion..

"We loved our home and it hurts, it hurts to see it this way," said homeowner Penny Ulbert.

The new reality forced on so many here.

"It doesn't make sense, because one day you see it just the way you've always had it, you know, perfect in your mind and now look at it," Ulbert said.

A feeling that like these wildfires continues to spread across Southern California.

There is still no clear indication when the hundreds of thousands pushed from their communities will be allowed to return.