Los Angeles, CA - (12/6/2017)
Multiple, wind fueled fires continuing to burn out of control tonight as gusty and unpredictable Santa Anna winds fan the flames, sparking new fires, evacuations, and new concerns about air quality. Those Santa Anna winds still gusting to over 60 miles per hour at times, quickly spreading fires that have already forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate.
I've been here all my life and to see this right happen now, it's, it's crazy. - Eddie Conteras, Santa Paula Homeowner
The Thomas fire, the largest and most destructive of the dozen or so fires currently burning, has scorched over 100 square miles since it began Monday evening, destroying hundreds of homes and other structures and prompting evacuations all the way to the Pacific. Efforts to contain it have been hindered by the strong winds, which have grounded water-dropping planes and helicopters over the last two days.
It's a combination of those gusty Santa Ana Winds, and the very low relative humidity led to the explosive fire growth which you see now. - Rich Thompson, National Weather Service Meteorologist
More than 100 thousand people remain under mandatory evacuation orders, mostly in and around Los Angeles, Santa Paula, and Ventura, as thousands of firefighters work to contain both the Thomas fire and the Creek fire, burning just north of L.A.
An a new threat erupting early Wednesday, flames destroying homes in L.A.'s exclusive Bel-Air neighborhood, temporarily shutting down the city's 4-0-5 freeway, and threatening multi-million dollar estates.
We had very strong winds coming from the northeast to the southwest blowing that fire quickly - and it has turned into a fire that is one-hundred-fifty-acres... Our plan here is to try to stop this fire before it becomes something bigger. - Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Mayor
Beyond the thick, dry brush and steep terrain, the biggest challenge for fire crews remains the fierce, gusting Santa Anna winds that are expected to last most of the week, and may get even worse on Thursday.
The winds can change with the Santa Anas very quickly and come west to us because it's done that before and it moves so fast you barely have time to get out. - Margo Edison, Evacuee from Upper Ojai, CA
The fires stretching resources thin, but the L.A. fire department working with everything they have to bring the fires under control.
We are being tasked significantly with multiple incidences. And we are coordinating our resources very well... the LAFD has a strike team up in Ventura. We have multiple firefighters, approximately four hundred... at the creek fire. we have the three-hundred-fifty firefighters here. - Ralph Terrazas, Los Angeles Fire Department Chief
Beyond the flames, millions of people in the area at risk from the smoke now choking the air. Doctors say children, the elderly, and those with asthma are the most at risk.
Smoke often contains fine particles that can penetrate pretty deeply into the lungs, and that can lead to respiratory problems. - Kim Wen, M.D, Dignity Health Northridge
Combined, the fires have burned nearly 100 thousand acres throughout the region.