That's what scientists say happened in Southern California in recent days as at least four serious fires spread in scattered locations across Ventura and Los Angeles counties, prompting thousands to evacuate and freeways like the 405 to partially close.
The fire is threatening the Getty Center, a museum in western Los Angeles.
"These are days that break your heart".
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the country's second largest with more than 640,000 students, said it closed more than a quarter of its almost 1,100 schools for the second day in a row on Friday.
By Wednesday evening, the fire in Bel-Air had consumed at least 475 acres and a handful of structures, small figures compared with some of the other blazes.
The massive blazes showed no signs of stopping as roaring winds fueled flames that feasted on the tinder-dry conditions in the region.
Another blaze, the Rye Fire, threatened more than 5000 homes and structures northwest of Los Angeles.
"We are a long way from being out of this weather event", Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire, said at a briefing Thursday.
Air tankers that had been grounded much of the week because of high winds flew on Wednesday, dropping flame retardant.
The exception to the evacuation order was the Bel Air Crest housing development, which was not threatened, Garcetti said. The Lilac fire, as it was being called, had burned 4,100 acres and wasn't far from large tracts of expensive homes.
"My son went out, came in, and said, 'Mom, you gotta see this, '" she said.
Flames burned a wine storage shed at media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 16-acre Moraga Vineyards estate and appeared to have damaged about 7 acres of vines, a spokeswoman said.
"We also can look for hotspots, " Terrazas said. "I know I can just run back out that way, so I am relatively safe", he said. "So we're very, very proud of that new technology". "Until the last ember is out, I will continue to worry".
The canyons can accelerate fires, McLean said.
About 100 officers from the Los Angeles Police Department were sent to the neighborhood to handle evacuation orders, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. In the wake of that blaze brush clearing was required and water pressure was increased, he said.
High winds also dissipate fire retardant dropped by aircraft, McLean said. Blake Chow reminded Southlanders that red flag parking restrictions were still in place in the Hollywood and West Los Angeles areas, which are meant to keep streets open for firefighting equipment.
The National Weather Service says a more favorable wind forecast still calls for potentially unsafe gusts, but ones not likely not to approach historic levels they'd feared.