Southern California wildfires burn with little containment as conditions worsen

Firefighters across Southern California are dealing with four major fires, and no help from brutal Santa Ana winds expected to continue fanning the flames into Thursday.

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The weather is not cooperating with the hundreds of officials trying to contain the fires in the region. Red flag warnings have been extended across much of Southern California through Saturday and high winds warnings are in effect for mountains and valleys in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Sustained winds were gusting to 66 mph at Boney Mountain in Ventura County, according to the National Weather Service. Winds could gust to 80 mph in the early hours of Thursday, causing embers to spread even more. Much of Southern California is also experiencing humidity levels in the teens or even single digits.

ABC News
Sustained winds in Southern California were expected to be from the mid-20s up to the 40-mph range, with gusts of 60 mph or more Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Authorities are dealing with four major fires, as well as a smaller one in San Bernardino, which is 100 percent contained according to Cal Fire.

The Thomas fire, which was the first to break out, has already consumed about 100,000 acres, and is expected to intensify due to the increasing winds. The Skirball fire is the smallest of the wildfires currently, but its threat to heavily populated areas of Los Angeles has drawn widespread attention. The Creek fire and Rye fire also continue to burn Thursday with little containment.

All Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley, as well as 17 schools on L.A.’s west side, was closed through Friday. At least 265 schools have been closed. UCLA also cancelled classes on Thursday due to the Skirball fire.

Thomas fire

The Thomas fire in Ventura County, the largest of the four fires, started on Monday as a 50-acre brush fire in east of Santa Paula and rapidly grew to 10,000 acres in just four hours, authorities said.

Mike Nelson/EPA
A man walks among the ruins of a home destroyed by the Thomas Fire as smoke obscures the sky in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017.

It had swelled to over 108,000 acres by midnight local time on Thursday, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, which is comprised of nine government agencies, among them the Bureau of Land Management, Forest…

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