Bel-Air fire: 4 homes destroyed, 475 acres burned


The dreaded Santa Ana winds, which transport warm, dry air from inland toward the coast, have been unceasing. The 405 freeway was later reopened, transportation officials said. "This is that worst case scenario that we prepare for but hope doesn't happen".

The fire north of San Diego, driven by winds above 35 miles per hour (56 kph), razed rows of trailer homes in the retirement community, leaving charred and mangled metal in its wake. It has totally destroyed four structures and damaged 11 others.

"We're encouraging people not to exercise outside". "Any home that could be saved by our wonderful first responders will be saved".

It is one of a cluster of fires that began Sunday night when extreme offshore gusts, also known as Sundowner winds, blew in at night and lit up the sky, much like the fires that raced through Northern California in October.

While helicopters bombarded the blaze from above with water drops, firefighters armed with chainsaws struggled to clear away the thick brush that was feeding the fire.

The Thomas Fire, the largest of the blazes, is burning through Ventura County toward Los Angeles and is now more than twice the size of Washington, D.C. and showing no signs of slowing.

The latest update shows the Thomas Fire, in Ventura County, moving west in the hills above Ojai and in the coastal area south of Carpinteria. It, too, had zero containment.

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The "Skirball" fire ignited before 5 a.m.(1300 GMT) and quickly grew to engulf about 150 acres around the district, home to celebrities and billionaires including Elon Musk and pop superstar Beyonce. Pacific time Wednesday, and it is only 5 percent contained.

"This is not a normal fire siege", Huston said.

Classes were canceled at Cal State Northridge because high winds and smoke in the San Fernando Valley have affected air quality and traffic conditions around the campus. "And (the firefighters) were like, 'Get out, get out, get out, '" Patricia Padilla told the Los Angeles Times. "In Southern California we've had virtually no rain, and it's still a very high-danger area".

"I don't know how many are living and how many are dead", he said. "I threw a lot of expensive things and some photographs in a bag and prepared to evacuate to our Palm Springs house".

"Anyone in your homes still, you need to leave now", a California Highway Patrol officer said through a loudspeaker while driving down a smoke-shrouded street.

Her sister heeded the advice and the family made it safely to the school.

Among those whose homes were destroyed was Tom Lanski, a captain with the Ventura County Fire Department. The difference is, that one hit in November and lasted only two days.

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Terrazas warned that the battle was likely to continue until at least Friday.

"We have a very sophisticated filtration system that was built into the Getty and it literally reverses the flow of air", Hartwig said.

About 10,000 homes are without power - a sliver of Southern California Edison's 15 million customers, but those numbers could change because flames were burning along power transmission paths.

So far, no deaths had been reported as a result of the fires.

Based on the location of the fires, there is "no indication that the company's facilities were a source of these fires", the utility said in a statement.

Moore said there are no new evacuation orders in place, and there isn't one specific direction the flames are heading in.

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