Monday, 18 December, 2017

California Wildfires Continue to Spread, Closing Freeways and Destroying Homes

Brush fire threatens homes in Bel-Air area; I-405 closed from 10 to 101 Shocking satellite images reveal the full extent of wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes and forced 27000 people
Freda Brock | 07 December, 2017, 20:54

Vehicles pass beside a wall of flames on the 101 highway as it reaches the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, Calif., on December 6.

Weather officials expect winds to pick up Wednesday night 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.

Los Angeles Mayor Erik Garcetti has declared a local state of emergency in the area affected by the Skirball fire, Deadline reported.

These aren't the first major fires California has had to deal with in recent months.

Melissa Rosenzweig, 47, was briefly back home Tuesday 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. There's no containment in sight.

"I could feel the heat on my windows", said Los Angeleno Joy Newcomb, who also drove by the fire.

While winds were calmer yesterday, the fire remained active around Ventura, spreading into the mountains around the community of Ojai and into Santa Paula.

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"We are in the beginning of a protracted wind event", said Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. According to The Associated Press, firefighters stopped the spread of the wildfire near the world-famous Getty museum and Bel Air neighborhood. At this point, at least 16,000 acres of land in LA county have burned.

Known as the Thomas Fire, the wildfire is raging in Ventura County on the doorstep of the Los Padres National Forest. The Creek fire burned at least 11,000 acres and the Rye fire destroyed at least 7,000 acres.

Police ordered an evacuation of all homes between two of the city's most storied roadways - Mulholland Drive on the north and Sunset Boulevard on the south - as thick black smoke and swirling ash turned day into night. Residents in Sullivan Canyon and Mandeville Canyon were told to be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice. A total of 12,000 structures are threatened, according to Cal Fire.

"There's enough fire around; there's dry fuel; the humidity is still low".

A fire alert flag flies in the wind at the headquarters of Irvine Regional Park in Orange as Santa Ana winds continue to blow early Tuesday morning December 5, 2017.

California drivers have had anything but a normal commute this week.

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