New California wildfire erupts day after memorial
LOS ANGELES – A new California wildfire broke out near a community east of Los Angeles on Monday, one day after some 10,000 people attended a memorial service for firefighters killed fighting a massive arson fire.
The new fire, fanned by hot Santa Ana winds, erupted at about 7:30 a.m. (10:30 EST) near the intersection of two major Southern California freeways about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
The flames, which quickly charred several hundred acres (hectares), threatened a neighborhood of hundreds of homes near the city of Rialto and burned a yard where wooden pallets were stored.
Firefighters used aircraft to scoop water from a pond on a golf course as smoke and ash drifted across a large swath of Southern California, pushed by winds that prompted authorities to issue a high fire danger warning.
On Sunday, thousands of firefighters lined roads and some 10,000 people flocked to an open air theater for an emotional farewell to the five firefighters who died trying to save a home during the October fire.
Three of the five, all of whom worked for the U.S. Forest Service, died instantly and the others died later of massive burns received on the first day of a five-day blaze that destroyed 34 homes. It also charred an area nearly three times the size of Manhattan.
Authorities charged a local man on Thursday with arson and five counts of murder. He could face the death penalty if convicted.