Los Angeles Blaze Threatens a Gas Field That Sprang Record Leak
(Bloomberg) -- A wind-driven wildfire on the northern edge of Los Angeles forced the evacuation of 25,000 homes and is threatening a natural gas-storage facility that four years ago sprung the biggest gas leak in U.S. history.
The Aliso Canyon gas field operated by Sempra Energy’s Southern California Gas Co. was evacuated after the blaze broke out Thursday in hills just north of the San Fernando Valley, the company said in a statement. About 100,000 people have been displaced, police said.
The cause of the fire, which has burned about 4,700 acres, hasn’t been determined. It comes after California utilities cut power to nearly 2.5 million people to avoid having live wires topple during windstorms and spark wildfires in the largest preemptive blackout in the state’s history.
As they battle the blaze in Los Angeles, firefighters have staged equipment around the Aliso Canyon storage site, according to SoCalGas. There was no damage to the facility as of 6 a.m. local time, and the company said it did not anticipate that any of the field’s wellheads would be damaged.
The blaze, named the Saddleridge fire, also prompted authorities to close several freeways including Interstate 5, the West Coast’s main north-south artery.
In 2015, employees discovered a massive gas leak at Aliso Canyon, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate for months. Sempra has already reported more than $1 billion in costs associated with the incident.
--With assistance from Christopher Palmeri, Naureen S. Malik, Nathan Crooks and Hailey Waller.
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