Hundreds of firefighters battle wildfire in LA County


Numerous first responders including the Los Angeles City Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the U.S. Forestry Department were sent to the scene. Homes were burning but there was no estimate of structure loss yet.

The new fire came as part of a series of wind-driven fires that had destroyed more than 180 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Fire officials said there were two firefighter injuries, including one who was hurt when the bulldozer he was operating overturned.

At noon, there was no containment of any of the blazes. Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency in Santa Barbara County on December 7 due to the Thomas Fire that has already scorched at least 132,000 acres and destroyed over 439 structures.

The 7,000-acre Rye Fire in Santa Clarita - now 5 percent contained - shut down a section of Interstate 5 on Tuesday. It was sparked Monday evening near Steckel Park in Santa Paul and "spread from the hillsides above Santa Paula, down toward the small city and west to Ventura". "It's critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so", Brown said.

Only the Osborne Street on- and off-ramps remained closed Thursday night, the CHP reported.

A State of Emergency would allocate state resources to directly fight the Thomas Fire and other wildfires burning in Southern California.

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"The winds are expected to strengthen again tonight through Thursday with 18 to 24 hours of strong winds gusting to 50 to 75 mph", the National Weather Service in Los Angeles said in a red-flag warning updated Wednesday. "All that firefighters can do when we have winds like this is get out ahead, evacuate people and protect structures". "This is not going to be the only fire".

The Creek fire was listed at 4,000 acres by midday.

Almost 180,000 customers in the Ventura County lost power, and schools in the district were closed.

"We're in an extreme firefight", county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said in a morning briefing.

This fire remains out of control and structures are threatened. The Thomas Fire has scorched 45,000 acres, blowing smoke all the way to the Westside of Los Angeles.