A gas flare that blew off a bridge in southern California on Monday was one of the largest and most complex in California history.
It also appeared to be the largest gas flare ever recorded on the West coast.
More than 3,000 firefighters and rescue crews worked for the past three days to contain the flare, which was seen as a serious threat to power supplies in California and the nation.
The flare erupted about 1:30 p.m. at a natural gas storage tank in Santa Ana, a city in the San Gabriel Mountains.
The Santa Ana Fire Department had already been called in and a helicopter had been dispatched to the scene.
Officials at the Santa Ana fire department said they did not have a precise location for the flare but that it was not far from the city of San Bernardino, a major city just south of the San Francisco Bay area.
Firefighters had initially believed the flare was a tree, but later confirmed it was a gas flare.
The explosion sent gas wafting for miles into the air.
“There’s a lot of debris out there and it was just a huge fireball,” Santa Ana resident John McBride told the Los Angeles Times.
“It was very loud.
It sounded like a bomb went off.”
Officials said there were no immediate reports of injuries.
The area where the flare exploded was covered with more than 30 feet of debris.
“We’re still investigating to see how much of the flare came out,” Santa Cruz County Fire Capt. Kevin DeLuca told the Associated Press.
“The flames are just continuing to burn.
It looks like they’re on fire.”
The flare was expected to continue burning for the next few days.
The California Gas & Electric Authority said that it received no reports of gas leaks, and it said it was working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine the cause of the explosion.
The Associated Press reported that the fire was reported at about 8:15 a.m., and that the flare had gone off without warning.
It is not clear how long the fire had been burning and whether the flare could be ignited, but it could be difficult to determine because the flames were not extinguished.
In addition to the flare’s destruction, the Santa Cruz Fire Department said the water supply had been interrupted for about a day.