Southern California fires force 200000 people to flee

Thomas Lauder  Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said more than 230,000 people had been forced from their homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

This morning, the 405, one of L.A.'s main thoroughfares was closed in both directions as a 50-acre brush fire near the Getty Center continued to rage.

In response to the fires, Gov.

Update: 12:21PM MULTIPLE fires are now raging in Southern California in the United States of America destroying homes and forcing thousands to flee.

More than 1,000 firefighters worked through the night protecting buildings, including City Hall, where the flames reached the parking lot, destroyed a couple of cars and left an adjacent hillside blackened and smoldering.

"We're basically in an urban firefight in Ventura, where if you can keep that house from burning, you might be able to slow the fire down", said Tim Chavez, a fire behavior specialist at the blaze.

Over 30 structures were destroyed by the Creek Fire last night, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency.

But power lines arcing in strong winds, or collapsing when trees crash into them, have triggered many of California's most destructive fires.

The Skirball Cultural Center, which features museum exhibits and other events related to Jewish life and Israel, announced on Twitter it would be closed until further notice, and ticket holders for exhibits in the coming days would be reimbursed.

Another fire, named the Skirball fire, reportedly began near the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning, and is now at zero percent containment.

"The public did an outstanding job heeding our evacuation orders, getting out of these danger zones in a very prompt timely manner", Welsbie said. It is only 5 percent contained, The Times reported. And in northern Los Angeles, the Creek Fire has consumed 11,000 acres.

California utility companies can be held financially liable for wildfire damage linked to their equipment, even if they followed all applicable safety rules.

Residents living west of I-405 should brace for evacuations, in case flames jump the freeway, officials said earlier on Wednseday.

Emergency alerts warned residents of extreme Santa Ana winds, with gusts expected of up to 90 miles per hour, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Harrison, as quoted by the Los Angeles Daily News.

The flames have swallowed about 80,000 acres (32,000 hectares) in just over a day since the "Thomas" fire, now the state's largest, broke out, leaving at least one person dead in an area about 45 minutes' drive from downtown LA.

The video shows the man chasing the rabbit after it ran across the road as flames from the Thomas Fire burn just feet away.

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