California fire grows and worst may be coming

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on Southern California wildfires (all times local):

7:50 p.m.

The largest and most destructive wildfire in Southern California has grown to 140 square miles and fire officials say the worst may be yet to come.

The 90,000-acre fire burning in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles has swept through ridges and canyons to the sea and Santa Ana winds that drove it are expected to return with a vengeance overnight.

State fire director Ken Pimlott says winds that eased in the afternoon could return with gusts up to 80 mph Thursday that would make it impossible to fight the fire.

Dozens of homes have burned since the blaze erupted Monday. Nearly 1,800 firefighters and a fleet of aircraft are fighting the flames but the blaze is only 5 percent contained and an estimated 12,000 buildings are in danger.

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6:20 p.m.

A wildfire in a wealthy western area of Los Angeles has reached the estate and winery owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Roxanne Langer at Moraga Vineyards in Bel Air says a temperature-controlled wine storage shed burned after the fire erupted before dawn Wednesday but it’s unclear how much wine was lost.

She says 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.

The winery has been evacuated.

Murdoch bought the property for about $30 million in 2013.

Langer says it appears the 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vines suffered only slight damage and the grapes already had been harvested.

In a Facebook statement, Murdoch says some neighbors suffered heavy losses and his thoughts and prayers are with them.

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3:45 p.m.

Firefighters have stopped the spread of a wildfire that has destroyed homes near the world-famous Getty museum in Los Angeles.

Deputy Fire Chief Charles Butler says firefighters and aircraft stopped the growth of the 475-acre (192-hectare) blaze in the Bel Air neighborhood.

There are currently few visible flames and crews are concentrating on the southwest corner of the fire.

Butler says four homes have been destroyed and 11 damaged since the blaze erupted before dawn Wednesday in an area that includes many hilltop mansions.

About 700 homes, an apartment building and a school have been ordered evacuated.

Northeast winds driving the flames eased by afternoon but are expected to return in full force Wednesday night. Firefighters are struggling to ring the blaze before that happens.

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3:15 p.m.

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