Multiple fires are raging in and around Los Angeles, whipped by the high Santa Ana winds and fueled by tinder-dry vegetation.
This includes the latest outbreak near the 405 freeway that is threatening the Getty Center and has already destroyed a number of homes in the wealthy Bel Air district. The LAPD started mandatory evacuations of several nearby neighborhoods earlier this morning.
The Ventura County or Thomas fire has now consumed over 50,000 acres, displaced more than 27,000 people, and destroyed hundreds of structures. It’s now reached the Pacific Ocean and remains uncontained.
The Sylmar or Creek Fire has now spread to the Los Angeles National Forest after it jumped the 210 freeway yesterday. It has burned more than 11,000 acres and prompted evacuations of Sylmar and surrounding communities. It also remains uncontained.
Several other smaller fires — including one in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, and another east of the city in San Bernardo — have led to mandatory evacuations and have burned several thousand acres already. The San Bernardo fire is currently threatening the city’s Cal State campus, home to nearly 21,000 students as of 2016. Both of those fires remain uncontained.
Just a few weeks ago, firefighters finally contained a series of similarly devastating fires that had torn through the state’s noted wine country and other northern counties, leaving dozens dead and thousands homeless.
Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters Monday night that one person has died so far, a motorist who died in a rollover car crash while trying to evacuate from the fire. A cause for any of the fires has yet to be determined.
We’ll be following this crisis closely at the 50 States of Blue California page.