California wildfires 2019: Blazes close amusement parks, prompt evacuations

Several wildfires are raging across various parts of California.

Sand Fire

A fast-spreading fire broke out Saturday afternoon in Yolo County, which is in northern California, has burned across 2,200 acres and is only 20 percent contained.

Known as the Sand Fire, authorities said it started just after 2:30 p.m. local time Saturday near the small towns of Ginda and Rumsey along Highway 16. It's prompted mandatory evacuations along County Road 41.

MAP: Yolo County evacuation area due to Sand Fire

Former Congressman from the East Bay, Pete McCloskey, watched intensely with his wife Helen as helicopters circled above their house. They were trying to figure out how bad the Sand Fire was burning around them.

"We have been packing with no idea how bad this is," Helen said.

That is until a sheriff's deputy told them to leave.

"You guys are aware of the mandatory evacuation, right?" asks the officer.

The couple said they did not receive any email or text alerts about the evacuation.

"This is obviously going to be the new norm," Helen said.

The couple evacuated with their six dogs.

"I decided to take a few things. I took my grandfather's memories and my great grandfather's, who lived here in California 150 years ago," says Pete, who was a Republican nomination for President in 1972. He lost to the incumbent, President Nixon.

The McCloskey's went through evacuations last year, when they lost one of their farms in the devastating County Fire, which burned over 90,000 acres. Since then, they have supplies packed in their RV. But they say, no matter how much they plan, it's still tough.

"The biggest concern is, of course, is losing the farm and the house and everything. And of course, we are under-insured, just we haven't gotten it together," Helen said.

An evacuation center has been set up in the Esparto Boy Scout Cabin at 16980 Yolo Avenue.

Smoke from this blaze can be seen all the way from the North Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

A Red Flag Warning is still in effect.

Visit the website of KGO, our sister station in San Francisco, for updates.

Sky Fire

Another fire in southern California prompted the evacuation and closure of Six Flags Magic Mountain and the neighboring Hurricane Harbor water park in Valencia, California.

EMBED More News Videos

A small brush fire erupted near Six Flags Magic Mountain Sunday, prompting a response from firefighters.

The fire, which officials are referring to as the "Sky Fire," broke out near the Old Road and Skyview Lane about noon Sunday. By late afternoon it had grown to about 50 acres, but fire officials said they had contained the forward progress and brought it down to a two-alarm blaze.

Containment was estimated at about 20 percent by 4 p.m. local time.

Large plumes of smoke were billowing in the area, created air-quality issues for visitors and particularly those with asthma.

Twelve people were transported to the hospital because of smoke and air-quality issues.

"I was working the gate and it got smokier and smokier," said park employee Richard Waldron. "It became a respiratory issue. There was ash falling around."

L.A. County Fire later asked all guests to remain at the park as exit roads were temporarily closed. Exit roads were later opened shortly before 2 p.m. and the park was evacuated and closed for the day.

Visit the website of KABC, our sister station in Los Angeles, for updates.

Malech Fire

Another northern California fire is raging with zero containment.

The so-called Malech Fire originated in the area of Malech Road and Bailey Road near South San Jose. Cal Fire first tweeted about it at 3:15 p.m. local time.

EMBED More News Videos

Crews are responding by ground and by air to a vegetation fire in South San Jose.

Officials say the fire is in an area that's difficult to access.

There is limited information on this fire at this time. Visit KGO's website for the latest updates.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.