At least 120,000 flee raging wildfires in Los Angeles, officials say

  • Four wildfires are raging in the Los Angeles area, near Bel-Air, Ventura, Sylmar and Santa Clarita.
  • At least 180 structures have been destroyed as tens of thousands evacuate.
  • More than 27,000 people were evacuated from the affected area in Ventura, with at least another 100,000 evacuated away from the Creek Fire near Sylmar, KNBC reported.

Four wildfires raged in the Los Angeles metropolitan area Wednesday as thousands of residents evacuated homes and freeway shutdowns rippled across the region.

Major interstate 405 was closed in both directions, the California Highway Patrol said, due to a 50-acre brush fire that threatened the Getty Center near Bel-Air.

Multiple drivers stuck in traffic tweeted videos of the fire burning above the 405.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed the closure of the 405, saying there is a mandatory evacuation for the area. He also said that 350 firefighters are on scene to fight what is being called the Skirball Fire.

Multiple aircraft helped fight the Skirball Fire, the mayor said, while winds are died down. At least four homes have been destroyed in that blaze. Fire officials said they expect winds to shift later in the day. LA County Fire pilot Michael Dubron tweeted video of the Skirball Fire, saying "continued extreme fire conditions."

Multiple fires continue uncontrolled

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection confirmed Wednesday three other fires are burning out of control in the Los Angeles area.

  • The Thomas Fire in Ventura has burned 65,000 acres with zero containment.
  • The Rye Fire near amusement park Six Flags Magic Mountain has burned 7,000 acres with 5 percent containment.
  • The Creek Fire has burned 11,000 acres with zero containment.
  • The Skirball Fire has burned 150 acres with zero containment.

Several thousand firefighters worked throughout the Los Angeles area, with support incoming from other counties and states.

President Donald Trump tweeted, "our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the path of California's wildfires."

Strong eastern winds pushed the Thomas Fire toward the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura, where about 140,000 people live, county officials said. Many more homes have been lost, according to officials, as the fire jumped both highway 33 and the 101 freeway on its way toward the ocean.

"We're really just trying to catch it around the edges and just pinching it off as quickly as we possibly can," Ventura County firefighter Jason Hodge told the Los Angeles Times.

At least 27,000 people fled the fire that was stoked by wind gusts of up to 70 mph. The winds were expected to remain in the area, along with low humidity through the week, the National Weather Service forecast.

The Creek Fire jumped the 210 freeway in the Sylmar neighborhood, destroying at least 30 homes, the Los Angeles Times reported. Officials evacuated more than 100,000 people from the Sylmar area, according to KNBC.

Evacuations and closures continue

More than 50 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District are closed Wednesday, as officials cleared evacuation areas and reiterated the dangers of smoke and ash.

Cal State University Channel Islands canceled all classes and closed its campus for Wednesday due to the fires. UCLA had announced the campus would remain open, tweeting that the university is monitoring the situation and that "students who are on campus should report to class as normal."

Dozens of students and parents responded to the tweets questioning the decision, saying the university was being irresponsible and wondering what safety measures UCLA was taking.

Minutes later the university tweeted a "revised fire advisory," saying "classes are optional" and those off campus should stay away.

The 390 students at Thomas Aquinas College were evacuated as a precaution, the school said on Twitter.

Evacuation centers were opened at a high school and the county fairgrounds, media reported.

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