Forest fires burn out of control in Southern California
150,000 people have been forced from their homes.
A series of wind-whipped fires that have parts of Southern California in a smouldering scene of destruction continued to rage Wednesday, as a new blaze erupted in an exclusive ridge-top neighborhood in Los Angeles.
The fire broke out early Wednesday in the vicinity of the famous Getty Center in the Sepulveda Pass, in which the closure of the 405 in both directions and threatening multi-million dollar homes in the city of the chic residential area of Bel Air.
The blaze, known as the “Skirball Fire,” was reported at 4:52 pm on the east side of the highway in the vicinity of Mulholland Drive, Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire department told FOX11.
Fire burning in the Sepulveda Pass near the Getty Center. Here is the view of the nearby 405 Freeway – NB lanes closed right now. @RICKatFOX reports. pic.twitter.com/nsOxGcPzfT
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) December 6, 2017
The Getty Center and the nearby Center Skirball are both on the west side of the highway opposite the approximately 50-hectare blaze, but the fire threatened houses in the direction of the top of the hill on the east side, according to FOX11. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for the area east of the 405 Freeway, South of Mulholland Drive, in the West of Roscomare Road and North of Sunset Boulevard.
405 is closed in the Sepulveda Pass by #SkirballFire east of the highway.
220 Firefighters on scene.
Mandatory evacuation for the area East of the 405 Fwy, South of Mulholland Dr., West of Roscomare Rd. And north of Sunset Blvd.
Updates → https://t.co/3IGCjvTaAv
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) December 6, 2017
The brush fire uphill, driven by the topography of the place of wind, fire officials said. There were no injuries reported and more than 200 firefighters responded to the scene, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman told Fox News.
A new fire broke on Wednesday near the famous Getty Center in the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles along the 405 Freeway.
Water-dropping helicopters and hundreds of firefighters on the ground working to protect the homes if the evacuations be carried out by the fire brigade and the police.
Not the typical morning commute… pic.twitter.com/kJIOQeqsIK
— A. Mutzabaugh CMT (@WLV_investor) December 6, 2017
The largest and most destructive of the fires in the area, a 85-square-meter blaze known as the “Thomas Brand” in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, had almost reached the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday evening after the start of 30 km inland from the coast a day earlier.
The blaze is now estimated at 50,000 acres with zero percent containment. It is pushed by strong Santa Ana winds from the east as it consumes vegetation that have not burned in decades, according to FOX11 Los Angeles.
A wildfire is burning along the 101 Freeway on Tuesday in Ventura, California.
“The prospects for the inclusion not good,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said at a press conference Tuesday. “Really, Mother Nature is going to determine when we have the opportunity to take it out.”
Those fierce winds, with gusts of more than 50 mph on Tuesday continued to drop water from planes and helicopters mostly grounded because it’s too dangerous to fly them in those conditions.
Fire commanders hoped to have them back in the air on Wednesday, but all indications were that the wind will be whipping – fanning the fire that spurred evacuation orders for nearly 200,000 people, destroyed nearly 200 homes and remained mostly out of control.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the path of California fires,” President Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “I encourage everyone to heed the advice and orders of local and national officials. THANKS to all Responders for your great work!”
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the path of California fires. I encourage everyone to heed the advice and orders of local and national officials. THANKS to all Responders for your great work! https://t.co/g9y9PkB352
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2017
While it glows in the South of California brought memories of the firestorm two months ago further to the north, which killed 44 people, no deaths and only a handful of injuries had been reported as of Wednesday morning.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES TRIGGER MASS DESTRUCTION, HURTING FAMILIES, ECONOMY
A wildfire consumed a home in Ventura, California.
“This fire is very dangerous and spreads quickly, but we continue to attack with everything we have,” California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement, as he declared a state of emergency in Ventura County. “It is important that residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if to do that.”
A man rides his bicycle past a home consumed by a wildfire.
The “Thomas Brand” jumped the center line of U. S. Highway 101 to a rocky beach in the northwest of the Ventura, bringing new evacuations, although officials said the sparse population and the lack of vegetation in the area so it was not too dangerous, and the highway was not closed.
A wildfire continues to burn as the red glow is reflected on the beach on Tuesday.
The fire had destroyed at least 150 structures, but Todd Derum, a commander, said he suspects hundreds of houses are already lost, though the firefighters have not been able to assess them. Mansions and modest homes alike were up in flames in the city. Dozens of houses in a neighborhood burned to the ground.
Smoke fills the sky near Hansen Dam in San Fernando Valley as a wildfire burns in the area in Los Angeles.
Lisa Kermode and her children back to their home Tuesday after evacuating Monday to find their house and belongings in the shaft, including a christmas tree and presents they had just bought.
“We have a knot in our stomach, come back here,” Kermode told the Associated Press. “We lost everything, everything, everything, all our clothes, something that is important to us. All of our family heirlooms — it is not the type of road, it is completely gone.”
John Keasler, 65, and his wife Linda drove out of their apartment building as the flames approached, then stood and watched the fire burn on the ground.
Thousands flee wildfire in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles
“It is sad,” Keasler said. “We love this place. We lost everything.”
The blaze also destroyed Vista del Mar Hospital, a psychiatric hospital that specializes in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I burst into tears,” Sandy Case, who lives next to the facility, told the Los Angeles Times. “It broke my heart.”
While the “Thomas Brand” may be the largest forest fire in the region, a separate blaze known as the “Creek Fire” in the foothills north of Los Angeles burned 30 structures and forced more than 100,000 people from their homes.
The smoke of the Creek wildfire in the San Gabriel Mountains, a range behind the Hills of Hollywood, looms over Los Angeles.
EXPLOSIVE WILDFIRES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FORCE THOUSANDS TO EVACUATE
An estimated 600 firefighters were at the blaze, which is being pushed by the sustained winds of 25 mph, together with gusts of wind up to 45 km / h, according to FOX11.
Fire is not typical in Southern California this time of year, but can break if the dry vegetation and lack of rain combine with the Santa Ana winds. Hardly any measurable rain has fallen in the region over the past six months.
Forest fires sparking apocalyptic destruction
The so-called Santa Ana winds have long contributed to some of the region’s most catastrophic fires, which blow from the inland in the direction of the Pacific Ocean, accelerate as they squeeze through mountains and canyons.
In LA County, tv shows with a large outdoor sets, including HBO’s “Westworld” and CBS’s “S. W. A. T.” stopped the production of the as a result of concerns about the safety of the cast and crew.
And the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL, keep those workouts in the vicinity of the Ventura County fire, canceled practice on Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed