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7.1 magnitude earthquake sparks fires, shuts roads, causes injuries in Southern California

Help from across the state is on its way to Southern California after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit near Ridgecrest only a day after a magnitude 6.4 quake.

Update: 9:04 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says President Donald Trump has called him and expressed commitment to helping California recover from two earthquakes that hit the state in as many days.

Speaking to reporters after touring the damage zone, Newsom said Saturday that he and Trump talked about the struggles California has been through, including two devastating wildfires that happened just six months ago.

The Democratic governor said "there's no question we don't agree on everything, but one area where there's no politics, where we work extremely well together, is our response to emergencies."

"He's committed in the long haul, the long run, to help support the rebuilding efforts," Newsom said of Trump.

Update: 10 a.m. 

As the sun came up in Ridgecrest Saturday, Cal OES and state officals were surprised to find less damage than expected after a 7.1 earthquake, the third large earthquake in just a few days, hit the Ridgecrest area Friday night. 

"...the power was out for a majority of the communities, there was road damage, rock slides...things you would see in an earthquake of htis magnititude," said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Office of Emergency Services, at a press conference Saturday morning. "But again, the damage that we are seeing this morning is not as extensive as one could have expected."

Ghilarducci said some 200 people were in shelters Friday night because they were afraid to be in their homes, but very little structural damage happened as a result of the 7.1 quake. Red Cross is supporting the shelters and Cal OES has provided additional cots and supplies.

On Saturday Governor Gavin Newsom's office announed the his request for a Presidential Emergency Declaration for direct federal assistance to the area. 

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Not long after the announcement Cal OES shared pictures of Newsom arriving in Kern County to assess the damages caused by the earthquakes.

Caltrans spokesperson Christine Knadler said that all roads around Ridgecrest are open, but asked that drivers go slow and proceed with caution.

Knadler said this includes SR-178, which was previously closed and has undergone temporary emergency repairs that have left the road with between six and eight miles of uneven pavement. She said that heavy equipment will soon go in to make permanent repairs. To keep an eye on road conditions, check the Caltrans cameras here. 

Update: 11:50 p.m.

Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said the 7.1 magnitude earthquake happened just around 8:20 p.m. Friday evening. 

The earthquake was said to have lasted a long time and was felt widely, even people in the Sacramento area felt the quake.

Down in Southern California, the shaking levels were highest at China Lake and near the town of Ridgecrest, which had just experienced a 6.4 magnitude quake the day before. Trona, a small town in San Bernardino County, was also said to have felt the impacts from the quake.

RELATED: Southern California earthquake maps and road closures | Update

Structure fires due to gas leaks or line breaks were attracting the attention of emergency personnel throughout the city. Crews have also be handling reports of water main breaks, power outages, and communication outages to other parts of the community. 

Help to the area has been coming from Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Fresno county areas. This includes search and rescue teams, Hazmat, medical teams, firefighters, ambulance strike teams, and other personnel. More than 100 mutual aid personnel have been dispatched to support the town of Trona and city of Ridgecrest.

Many resources had already been deployed into the area after the 6.4 magnitude Fourth of July earthquake. This meant many resources immediately available to help. 

Mutual aid will be coming from all over the state of California to help until the situation is mitigated.

Governor Gavin Newsom has also requested a Presidential Emergency Declaration to get direct federal assistance to help with the mutual aid efforts to Kern County and to a portion of San Bernardino County.

Update: 10:55 p.m.

Authorities say a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that jolted California has caused injuries, sparked fires, shut roads and shaken ball games and theme parks.

However, authorities say there are no deaths or major building damage reported from the quake, which struck at 8:19 p.m. Friday.

It was centered about 150 miles from Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert near the town of Ridgecrest, which was still recovering from a 6.4-magnitude preshock that hit the region on Thursday.

There were reports of trailers burning at a mobile home, and State Route 178 in Kern County was closed by a rockslide and roadway damage.

But Kern County Fire Chief David Witt says it appears no buildings collapsed. He also says there have been a lot of ambulance calls but no reported fatalities.

Update: 10:30 p.m.

At a press conference, Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said there are no fatalities related to the earthquake at this time. 

Currently, the department is getting a large number of medical calls, and there are no reports of major buildings collapsing. He noted that there's a possibility that there could be some, however, it'll take a search to find out where those buildings would be.

The calls for help are currently creating a backlog for first responders. Currently, they have been gathering information and searching for life and property while handling the backlog of medical calls. 

Aid is also being sought from Fresno, Orange County, Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County. 

Crews will be search the area to see where the situation is at and how many resources may be needed.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake was a magnitude 7.1. A preliminary recording had initially showed it 7.1.

Update: 9:55 p.m.

An earthquake rattled Dodger Stadium in the fourth inning of the team's game against the San Diego Padres.

The quake on Friday night happened when Dodgers second baseman Enriquè Hernàndez was batting. It didn't appear to affect him or Padres pitcher Eric Lauer.

However, it was obvious to viewers of the SportsNet LA broadcast when the TV picture bounced up and down.

The quake registered an initial magnitude of 6.9 to 7.1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There was no announcement by the stadium's public address announcer.

Some fans in the upper deck appeared to leave their seats and move to a concourse at the top of the stadium.

The press box lurched for about 20 seconds.

The quake occurred a day after a magnitude 6.4 quake hit in the Mojave Desert about 150 miles from Los Angeles.

Update: 9:28 p.m.

Authorities are now reporting injuries and damage from a big earthquake that was felt throughout Southern California and into Las Vegas and even Mexico.

The quake that hit at 8:19 p.m. was given a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 to 7.1, but the measurements were still being calculated.

It followed Thursday's 6.4-mangitude quake that at the time was the largest Southern California quake in 20 years. Both were centered near Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert.

Kern County fire officials reported "multiple injuries and multiple fires" without providing details. San Bernardino County firefighters reported cracked buildings and a minor injury.

Update: 9:07 p.m.

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake jolted Southern California and was felt as far away as Mexico Friday night, but no major damage was reported.

The quake, which initially was reported as magnitude 7.1, would be the largest temblor in the region in 20 years and was centered in the same area as a 6.4 quake that hit a day earlier.

The shaker at 8:19 p.m. was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest, a Mojave Desert town 150 miles (240 kilometers) away from Los Angeles that saw building damage, fires and several injuries from the earlier quake.

Officials in San Bernardino County reported homes shifting, foundation cracking and retaining walls coming down. One person suffered minor injuries and was being treated by firefighters, they said.

Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the California Institute of Technology's seismology lab, tweeted that the quake was part of the sequence that produced the earlier quake.

The new jolt was felt in downtown Los Angeles as a rolling motion that seemed to last at least a half-minute. Reports said the quake rocked chandeliers and rattled furniture as far away as Las Vegas,  and the U.S. Geological Survey said it was felt in Mexico as well.

Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department told KNX-AM radio says more than 1,000 firefighters were mobilized, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The press box at Dodger Stadium lurched for several seconds, and fans in the upper deck appeared to be moving toward the exit. Enrique Hernandez of the Dodgers was at-bat in the bottom of the fourth when the quake occurred. He stepped out of the batter's box, but it wasn't clear if that was because of the quake.

An NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas was stopped after the quake. Speakers over the court at the Thomas & Mack Center continued swaying more than 10 minutes after the quake.

The quake came as communities in the Mojave Desert tallied damage and made emergency repairs to cracked roads and broken pipes from the earlier quake.

Hours earlier, seismologists had said that quake had been followed by more than 1,700 aftershocks and that they might continue for years. However, that quake would now be considered a foreshock to the Friday night temblor.

Andrew Lippman, who lives in suburban South Pasadena, was sitting outside and reading the paper when Friday's quake hit.

"It just started getting stronger and stronger, and I looked into my house and the lamp started to sway. I could see power lines swaying," he said. "This one seemed 45 (seconds)... I'm still straightening pictures."

Damage from Thursday's quake appeared limited to desert areas, although the quake was felt widely. The largest aftershock — magnitude 5.4 — was also felt in Los Angeles before dawn Friday.

At an afternoon news conference, a seismologist had said the odds of a quake of magnitude 6.0 or larger happening in the next few days was only 6 percent and dwindling.

Earlier Friday, Ridgecrest Regional Hospital remained closed as state inspectors assessed it, spokeswoman Jayde Glenn said. The hospital's own review found no structural damage, but there were cracks in walls, broken water pipes and water damage.

The hospital was prepared to help women in labor and to give triage care to emergency patients. Fifteen patients were evacuated to other hospitals after the quake, Glenn said.

The quake did not appear to have caused major damage to roads and bridges in the area, but it did open three cracks across a short stretch of State Route 178 near the tiny town of Trona, said California Department of Transportation district spokeswoman Christine Knadler.

Those cracks were temporarily sealed, but engineers were investigating whether the two-lane highway was damaged beneath the cracks, Knadler said. Bridges in the area were also being checked.

The Ridgecrest library was closed as volunteers and staff picked up hundreds of books that fell off shelves. The building's cinderblock walls also had some cracks, said Charissa Wagner, library branch supervisor.

Wagner was at her home in the small city of 29,000 people when a small foreshock hit, followed by the large one, putting her and her 11-year-old daughter on edge.

"The little one was like, 'Oh what just happened.' The big one came later and that was scarier," she said.

The earthquake knocked over a boulder that sat atop one of the rock spires at Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, a collection of towering rock formations that has been featured in commercials and films, said Martha Maciel, a Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman in California.

Meanwhile, the nation's second-largest city revealed plans to lower slightly the threshold for public alerts from its earthquake early warning app. But officials said the change was in the works before the quake, which gave scientists at the California Institute of Technology's seismology lab 48 seconds of warning but did not trigger a public notification.

"Our goal is to alert people who might experience potentially damaging shaking, not just feel the shaking," said Robert de Groot, a spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey's ShakeAlert system, which is being developed for California, Oregon and Washington.

The West Coast ShakeAlert system has provided non-public earthquake notifications on a daily basis to many test users, including emergency agencies, industries, transportation systems and schools.

Late last year, the city of Los Angeles released a mobile app intended to provide ShakeAlert warnings for users within Los Angeles County.

The trigger threshold for LA's app required a magnitude 5 or greater and an estimate of level 4 on the separate Modified Mercali Intensity scale, the level at which there is potentially damaging shaking.

Although Thursday's quake was well above magnitude 5, the expected shaking for the Los Angeles area was level 3, de Groot said.

A revision of the magnitude threshold down to 4.5 was already underway, but the shaking intensity level would remain at 4. The rationale is to avoid numerous ShakeAlerts for small earthquakes that do not affect people.

"If people get saturated with these messages, it's going to make people not care as much," he said.

Construction of a network of seismic-monitoring stations for the West Coast is just over half complete, with most coverage in Southern California, San Francisco Bay Area and the Seattle-Tacoma area. Eventually, the system will send out alerts over the same system used for Amber Alerts to defined areas that are expected to be affected by a quake, de Groot said.

California is partnering with the federal government to build the statewide earthquake warning system, with the goal of turning it on by June 2021. The state has already spent at least $25 million building it, including installing hundreds of seismic stations throughout the state.

This year, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state needed $16.3 million to finish the project, which included money for stations to monitor seismic activity, plus nearly $7 million for "outreach and education." The state Legislature approved the funding last month, and Newsom signed it into law.

___

McCombs reported from Salt Lake City. Associated Press writer Adam Beam contributed to this report from Sacramento, California.

Original Story:

An earthquake was recorded at a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 north northeast of Ridgecrest. 

The earthquake comes just day after a July 4th earthquake that was felt throughout the region. 

According to the United States Geological survey, the earthquake was recorded near the city of Ridgecrest in southern California. The earthquake took place at the coordinates of 35.767, -117.605 as reflected in the map below.

According to Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist at Caltech, the 6.4 earthquake felt on July 4th was a foreshock and the M7.1 earthquake is on the same fault. She added that this was part of the same sequence.

The 7.1 earthquake is the biggest to have hit California in 20 years.

*This story will update as more information becomes available.

WATCH ALSO: What the 'Shake Alert' system means for Sacramento