Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Multiple wildfires destroy homes in Los Angeles County

A firefighter battles the Thomas fire in the town of La Conchita early Thursday A firefighter battles the Thomas fire in the town of La Conchita early Thursday
Melinda Barton | 08 December, 2017, 12:08

LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said red flag conditions are expected to remain in effect through the rest of the week, with gusting Santa Ana winds presenting a continuing danger of rapidly spreading blazes.

At least two structures burned Thursday afternoon after a fire broke out near large tracts of homes near the city of Murrieta in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles.

- A fast-moving brush fire raced across 150 acres in the Sepulveda Pass Wednesday, destroying at least four homes, prompting a rush-hour closure of the San Diego (405) Freeway and forcing mandatory evacuations.

That blaze - the Thomas Fire - extended dozens of miles from near Santa Paula in Ventura County to the edge of Carpinteria, a city of 13,000 people, a stiffening wind posing the most threat.

"These are days that break your heart".

All Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley and some on the Westside of Los Angeles - a total of 265 district schools and charter schools - will be closed Thursday and Friday, district officials said. The winds create the seasonally dry conditions that these fires thrive on.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is warning area residents and visitors that apps that offer driving directions are sometimes suggesting routes through regions that are ablaze, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The Getty Center and the nearby Skirball Center are both on the west side of the freeway, and did not appear to be threatened.

Helicopters dropped water on the hillside above the orchard for more than an hour, two working in tandem: As one dropped a load and swung south to refill in Lake Casitas, the second could be seen in the near distance.

About 200,000 residents were evacuated from their homes at one point, though some were due to return on Thursday evening.

"So far, there have been no casualties or no calls coming from our consulate".

Immediately, she said, they packed their cars with clothes and with family mementos like her sons' bar mitzvah videos, grabbed the family dog, Georgie, and a few other items they had accumulated in the 20 years they lived there. "They're not just horses - they're horses that we know, that we've become close to".

Hartwig said the museum's travertine and metal skin should be able to protect the pre-20th-century European paintings, illuminated manuscripts and other treasures inside. "Until the last ember is out, I will continue to worry".

Authorities said six structures had been lost in the fire.

Besides Bel Air, affluent Los Angeles neighborhoods between Mulholland Drive to the north and Sunset Boulevard to the south were part of the evacuation zone.

Warning of "extreme" fire behavior, authorities said those fighting the Creek Fire were facing multiple difficulties because of the winds, poor access to the fire, and steep, rugged terrain. As of late Wednesday, the Thomas fire had grown to 96,000 acres.