Strong winds and dry conditions are fueling the flames in southern California

07 December, 2017, 20:23 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • A firefighter battles the Thomas fire in the town of La Conchita early Thursday

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said more than 230,000 people had been forced from their homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Flames don't discriminate. Many fire fighters are among the California residents losing their homes and being forced to evacuate. Firefighters battled to save multimillion-dollar homes in the path of the flames.

"We are in the beginning of a protracted wind event", said Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Skirball fire in west Los Angeles - named for the nearby Skirball Cultural Center, a local Jewish landmark - continued to blaze, expanding from 50 to 475 acres, according to media reports.

The largest and most destructive of the fires, an 85-square-mile (220-sq. kilometer) wildfire in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, had almost reached the Pacific on Tuesday night after starting 30 miles (48 kilometers) inland a day earlier.

"There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds", Pimlott said.

Campus freshman Makani Kirwin said her family in Ojai has opened their home to many evacuated friends.

High winds caused another wave of wildfires to erupt on Tuesday night, including one in Los Angeles' affluent Bel-Air neighborhood. It was 5 percent contained, while the other fires had no containment.

Burning as well was the Creek Fire in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, which started at 3:42 a.m. Tuesday in the Angeles National Forest and spread to more than 11,000 acres.

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"This fire is very unsafe and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got", Brown said.

Fires are not typical in Southern California this time of year but can break out when dry vegetation and too little rain combine with the Santa Ana winds.

Melissa Rosenzweig, 47, was briefly back home Wednesday after evacuating from her Ventura house, which has been spared so far while most on her street had burned in the largest and most destructive of the region's fires.

USA media reported that the Bel-Air Moraga Estate of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, which contains a vineyard, was threatened by the wildfire.

Weather officials expect winds to pick up through Thursday, bringing "damaging" gusts of 50 to 70 miles per hour that could knock down trees and power lines, and cause fire to spread rapidly.

A man rescued a wild rabbit from the raging wildfires on the side of a California highway on Wednesday evening and the daring rescue was caught on video.

Dozens of schools were also closed in neighboring Ventura County, where the largest of the area blazes, the Thomas Fire, has charred more than 95,000 acres.

One key facet of helping protect people from wildfires is preventing and avoiding them in the first place.

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