Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Los Angeles threatened as wildfires spread, forcing thousands to evacuate

Los Angeles threatened as wildfires spread, forcing thousands to evacuate

The wilder winds could easily send make new fires explode too, as one did Wednesday in Los Angeles' exclusive Bel-Air section, where a fire consumed multimillion-dollar houses that give the rich and famous sweeping views of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has released a map showing the neighborhoods under evacuation due to the Skirball Fire, which is burning east of the 405 freeway in Bel Air.

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. The Skirball Fire was spread across at least 150 acres at last estimate, authorities said.

"We are in the beginning of a protracted wind event", Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), told the Los Angeles Times.

Late Tuesday, the fire in Ventura County jumped Highway 101 and began heading west to Solimar Beach, causing evacuation orders to be issued for the North Coast area of Ventura County.

A horse stall is engulfed in flames Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in the Creek fire, which burned about 11,000 acres in the Kagel Canyon area above Sylmar.

How many acres have burned?

The Skirball fire covered 450 acres as of Wednesday morning.

The strongest Santa Ana winds of the season drove multiple wildfires in Southern California this week.

On Thursday, those engines and a supervisor's truck will take the firefighters to Ventura County where danger and devastation await. "But these are also days that show the resilience of our city", Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, thanking firefighters from Los Angeles and other agencies and all city personnel.

Weather forecasters say this could make for extremely unsafe conditions.

Some 500 firefighters are battling the fire along with water-dropping helicopters and airplanes laying down streams of fire retardant.

The fire, which was zero percent contained, was being whipped by unpredictable Santa Ana winds, which blow in from the California desert.

The freeway was likely to be impacted for the rest of the morning, Stewart said.

The same vicious winds that made three Southern California wildfires so destructive are also making the firefight itself more hard.

Ventura residents who fled from their homes described tense moments as the fires rapidly approached.

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