Southern California Braces: Forecasters Say Even Stronger Winds Could Stoke Fires

Southern California Braces: Forecasters Say Even Stronger Winds Could Stoke Fires

On Wednesday firefighters managed to stop the spread of a wildfire that has destroyed homes near the world-famous Getty museum in Los Angeles. Residents in Sullivan Canyon and Mandeville Canyon were told to be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice.

According to the National Weather Service, the wildfires are expected to exacerbate overnight, as winds reach speeds of 65 miles per hour.

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It is one of the smaller of several wildfires burning in the Los Angeles area, but it is in a relatively densely populated area that includes the tony neighborhood of Bel Air and borders the campus of UCLA.

Officials hope the electronic push will keep the whole region alert and keep the death toll from the week's fires at zero. No major institution so far has said it has incurred damage, but, as of midday, more than 150 buildings and homes have been destroyed in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, and almost 12,000 more buildings are potentially threatened by four fires threatening various areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

UCLA, a few miles south of the fire, said it believed its campus was safe but canceled afternoon and evening classes, citing hard traffic conditions.

How many fires are there?

A fire alert flag flies in the wind at the headquarters of Irvine Regional Park in Orange as Santa Ana winds continue to blow early Tuesday morning December 5, 2017.

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The fire broke out Wednesday morning.

Hundreds of firefighters battled flames on the ground as aircraft dropped water and retardant near neighborhoods on the east side of the pass. Commuter traffic snarled in the pass and beyond.

"Our fire situation is certainly reduced enough that we can certainly allow those resources to be deployed", said the Public Information Officer with the Oregon State Fire Marshal, Rich Hoover.

She said firefighters stepped in to douse the flames with the aid of helicopters and that other storage sheds, the winery itself and the estate's unoccupied house are not damaged.

"Our big variable tonight is the wind, and the wind is expected to pick up in some places to 70 miles an hour - that's hurricane force winds", Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Wednesday afternoon.

The same vicious winds that made three Southern California wildfires so destructive are also making the firefight itself more hard.

Air tankers that had been grounded much of the week because of high winds flew on Wednesday, dropping flame retardant.

The unrelenting blaze has destroyed more than 12,000 homes in and around the coastal city of Ventura, forcing thousands of people to race for safety.

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