CALIFORNIA FIRES - Apocalyptic Scenes as Huge Fires Burn in Los Angeles & Ventura


CALIFORNIA FIRES - Apocalyptic Scenes as Huge Fires Burn in Los Angeles & Ventura
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CALIFORNIA FIRES - Apocalyptic Scenes as  Huge Fires Burn in Los Angeles & Ventura

A new wildfire closed parts of Interstate 405 Wednesday morning near Los Angeles' posh Bel-Air area and prompted evacuations -- one in a series of blazes that have scorched more than 83,000 acres, burned scores of buildings and forced tens of thousands of people to flee over three days.
A look at the California wildfires' jaw-dropping numbers
A look at the California wildfires' jaw-dropping numbers
Police shut down I-405 -- one of the nation's busiest freeways -- in both directions for nine miles after flames swept down the foothills toward the highway, near Sepulveda Pass and the Getty Center arts complex, as stunned motorists drove by before dawn.

UCLA, a few miles south of the fire, said it believed its campus was safe but canceled afternoon and evening classes, citing difficult traffic conditions. It also canceled its men's basketball home gave against Montana.
"It was dark until I saw a gigantic ball of orange," I-405 motorist Tiffany Lynette Anderson wrote on Instagram, where she posted a picture of fire raging beside the highway before it shut down. "On absolute fire. I'm grateful to be safe -- truly grateful." Wind-whipped wildfires are burning extremely dry terrain along the northern and western edges of Los Angeles, and, more extensively, Ventura County, northwest of the city, for a third day.
Live updates: Wildfires spread in Southern California
Heavy Santa Ana winds blamed for spreading the infernos still threaten to multiply the destruction.
The winds are expected to pick up in Wednesday evening and Thursday -- perhaps as gusty as 50 mph, posing a risk of further spread.
Smoke collected even in areas that weren't burning. Health officials warned people in the heavily populated San Fernando Valley and other parts of the northern Los Angeles area to limit their time outdoors. The biggest blaze is the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, burning at least 65,000 acres, including parts of Ventura, a city of more than 100,000 people along the Pacific coast. Creek Fire in northern Los Angeles: The second-largest is the Creek Fire, having burned around 11,000 acres in and near northern Los Angeles' Sylmar and Tujunga neighborhoods  exodus: About 150,000 people in Los Angeles were under evacuation orders Tuesday. The number Wednesday, after the orders given because of the fire near I-405, wasn't immediately clear. 43,000 homes were without power Tuesday night, according to Southern California Edison Rye Fire near Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County grew to about 7,000 acres. That fire was spotted near the Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.  They escaped with a few Christmas presents. "Now, everything that I have, except for my lovely family, is gone," she said. California Fire "Bel Air" Bel-Air "Los Angeles" LA U.S. USA America "united states" wind weather storm fires driving emergency "emergency supplies" food home house shelter 2017 2018 Ventura Malibu "west coast" family Christmas Bel-Air hot heat wildfire water "clean water" hills property "santa barbara" prepare power acre The Thomas Fire jumped to thousands of acres with startling speed as Santa Ana winds, blowing as fast as 35 to 50 mph, carried its embers. The fire quickly devoured dry chaparral, as the county has been in a period of moderate drought.   Ash rained down on one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles on Wednesday as flames engulfed homes nestled on the cliffs above it, while a much larger wildfire continued to rage out of control in the Ventura area.

Los Angeles officials said Wednesday morning that at least four homes had been destroyed near the 405 Freeway and that more remained at risk. In the exclusive Bel-Air neighborhood, the fire clogged traffic for miles in every direction, including on the narrow residential streets in the hills where many residents were ordered to evacuate.