Wildfires continue destructive march through Southern California

Fire danger is hitting an unprecedented high in Southern California. Overnight, strong winds continued to fuel several wildfires burning in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.

Evacuation orders and a state of emergency are still in effect for residents, schools, and businesses. On Thursday the Department of Forestry and fire protection is forecasting the most extreme conditions.

These fires have already charred more than 110,000 acres and hundreds of homes and buildings have been destroyed. Tens of thousands of people still under evacuation orders.

Thursday strong Santa Ana winds are expected to hit Southern California. Cal Fire is calling for extreme fire danger-- which has never happened before.

Three of the fires are in Los Angeles County-- those are the Rye, Creek, and Skirball Fires. The other is in Ventura County-- that one is the Thomas Fire.

Governor Jerry Brown had declared a state of emergency for Ventura and LA County.


The Thomas Fire burning in Ventura County started Monday since then it has exploded to 96,000 acres and prompted the mandatory evacuation of roughly 50,000 people.

So far the fire has destroyed at least 150 structures and more than 12,000 homes remain threatened.

Ventura County is under a state of emergency and the city of Ventura put in place a curfew until that's lifted. They said this is to help protect people as well as limit looting in evacuation areas.


The Skirball Fire burning near the Getty Center has destroyed at least six homes and damaged 11 other structures. The fire is holding at 450 acres but firefighters are anticipating flare-ups because of wind.

This did not only force mandatory evacuations, it shut down the 405 freeway-- lanes have since been reopened.

Mandatory evacuations are still in place and will be through Thursday night, impacting close to 4,600 residents.

Peter Sanders, the LAFD PIO, said, "A lot of area of this fire is in steep and inaccessible areas, inaccessible terrain that hasn't burned in decades, if not longer. So some of the area is very hard to get to during the day and it's obviously a lot harder at night."


Also burning in LA County is the Creek Fire in the Sylmar area. It is still at just five-percent containment after burning more than 12,600 acres.

More than 800 firefighters from different agencies and 50 plus engines are assisting in this firefight.

We are already learning about how destructive this fire is-- it has forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 residents, killed 40 horses, and has destroyed more than 30 structures.

Wednesday, the Highway Patrol was able to re-open both sides of the 210 freeway, but some off-ramps remain closed.


The third fire burning in LA County is the Rye Fire in Santa Clarita. Since Tuesday, 7,000 acres have burned and firefighters are working to get a handle on this blaze that is just 10-percent contained.

Homes and schools remain threatened so evacuations are going to stay in place until firefighters can contain the fire.

Red flag warnings have been extended across much of Southern California through Saturday. High wind warnings are in place for most of LA and Ventura Counties.

Firefighters use a color coded index to identify fire conditions. At this point their fire forecast is purple, meaning the most extreme conditions. It is a level they have never used before.
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