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

Irfan Khan—LA Times via Getty Images

Irfan Khan—LA Times via Getty Images

Back in the beachside city of Ventura, the fire killed more than two dozen horses at a stable and had destroyed at least 150 structures, a number that was expected to get far bigger as firefighters are able to assess losses.

Evacuations have been ordered and a wider area has been told to be ready for orders to leave.

Back in Ventura County, north of L.A., Santa Ana winds carrying hot and extremely dry air from inland, gusting 35 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour, continued to stymie firefighters.

The strongest Santa Ana winds of the season drove multiple wildfires in Southern California this week.

A risky new wildfire erupted in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles early Wednesday.

As many as five fires have closed highways, schools and museums, and cast a hazardous haze over the region.

The report said fire that has ravaged Ventura County continued to burn out of control yesterday, reaching the Pacific Ocean unchecked as officials warned many more homes have been lost.

Garcetti said later Wednesday that six homes have been confirmed destroyed, and the fire was 5 percent contained.

Firefighting resources were stretched in as other fires, including the Creek Fire and the Thomas Fire, raged on elsewhere in Southern California.

The Santa Ana winds occur most often in the fall and winter.

"We are losing some property and that is tragic, but the most important thing is peoples' lives", said City Councilman Paul Koretz.

Meanwhile in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, the so-called Creek Fire blackened more than 11,000 acres. Numerous strike teams left early Wednesday morning.

Helicopters are making water drops and more than 200 firefighters are battling flames close to homes.

The freeway was likely to be impacted for the rest of the morning, Stewart said.

A brush fire has erupted on the west side of Los Angeles along Interstate 405 in Sepulveda Pass.

Stewart says 47 firefighters are on the scene, setting up protection for homes at the top of the steep slopes.

Air tankers that had been grounded much of the week because of high winds flew on Wednesday, dropping flame retardant. Officials have issued a mandatory evacuation notice to at least one neighborhood filled with multimillion-dollar homes, as the fire has already started burning some down.

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