Flames from the largest and most destructive Southern, known as the Thomas Fire, churned toward coastal and mountain communities northwest of Los Angeles on Thursday, disrupting travel on a major highway and triggering more evacuations.
A wind forecast called for potentially dangerous gusts, but ones not likely to approach historic levels forecasters had feared, according to the National Weather Service.
“This is good news for the fire crews as the winds will not be driven quite as vigorously,” a weather service statement said.
Southern California has been hit hard by four major fires that have put tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders and destroyed nearly 200 homes and buildings, a figure that is almost certain to grow.
Follow along below for live updates on the fires. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.
3:29 p.m.: Thomas Fire jumps across 101 Freeway
Flames from the Thomas Fire that’s tearing through Ventura County jumped across to the west side of the 101 Freeway Thursday morning, CBS Los Angeles reports.
At around 11 a.m., flames were shooting hundreds of feet into the air as plumes of black smoke engulfed palm trees and brush right up against the beach side of the freeway at Faria Beach. Traffic was moving in both directions.
The wind appeared to be pushing the flames north.
A California Highway Patrol officer was on scene, but there did not appear to be any major traffic enforcement. Earlier, the 101 was closed between state routes 150 and 126 but had since reopened.
The Thomas Fire has burned through 96,000 acres and is only 10 percent contained. Thousands of people remain under a mandatory evacuation order.
2:38 p.m.: Creek Fire scorches more than 12,605 acres
Although they expect violent wind gusts, crews battling the Creek Fire in the hills above Sylmar will try to gain momentum Thursday against a wind-driven blaze that has destroyed or damaged at least 30 homes and threatened thousands of others, CBS Los Angeles reports.
The fire, which has scorched 12,605 acres, broke out at 3:42 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Gold Creek and Little Tujunga roads in the Kagel Canyon area. More than 1,600 firefighters and other personnel were deployed against the fire, which was 10 percent contained as of Thursday.
Mandatory evacuations were in place Thursday…