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Mayor Villaraigosa Declares Local State of Emergency

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In a press conference held at 8:00 this morning, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addressed the continuing concerns for the City of Los Angeles created by the Sayre Fire, which is being battled by a "unified command" of the LA Fire Department, the LA County Fire Department, the US Forestry Service, and the LAPD.

Calling the powerful Santa Ana winds that have helped and continue to propel the flames "absolutely atrocious" and "treacherous," Villaraigosa stressed the dire need for Angelenos to conserve energy as much as possible today, despite the chance that temperatures may soar up to near the 100-degree mark. "We need everyone to conserve power today," he urged, pointing out that the DWP's I-5 "power corridor" was already seriously threatened and that there may have to be rolling blackouts during the day to offset the demands on the strained system.

Villaraigosa stated that although no numbers are immediately available, we know there have been "dozens of structures" lost in the blaze, which is "more than we've lost over the last decade." He also cautioned area residents to heed the evacuation orders of local authorities and to not wait until they see the fire. There are 4 shelters currently open--Sylmar, San Fernando, Chatsworth, and Kennedy High Schools--and "more may open as the day progresses."

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The Mayor added that this morning he signed the order declaring a local state of emergency.

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill