Videos: Winds driving  wildfires through Southern Calif.


Firefighters are trying to get into fire-ravaged areas in Southern California to try and get an accurate estimate on the number of homes lost to raging wildfires since Monday. At least four major fires shut down highways, closed schools and museums, shut down TV productions and cast a haze over the region, according to The Associated Press. At least 200,000 people are under evacuation orders. 

>> California wildfires: Live updates

High winds are expected to make battling the fires difficult for first responders through the rest of the week. 

Weather forecasters in Los Angeles are predicting high winds over night Wednesday and into Thursday morning, with gusts as high as 70 miles per hour in some areas. Los Angeles officials are urging people near the Creek and Rye Fires to be ready to evacuate.

California's top firefighter says the state is in for the worst Santa Ana wind conditions it's ever seen.

>> VIDEO: Wind-driven fire consumes northern California ranch

Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, says the wind wildfire threat to Southern California for Thursday is purple. That color has never been used before, and means there is extreme danger and that fires that erupt will burn uncontrollably.

>> VIDEO: Fiery commute greets motorists on California’s I-405

Below that is red, meaning high danger of fires that burn rapidly and intensely and are difficult to control.

Pimlott says the winds could hit 80 mph (129 kph) and make it impossible to fight Southern California wildfires that have destroyed at least 200 homes and buildings.

>> PHOTOS: Wildfires scorching thousands of acres

A surge from the biggest of the wildfires burning in Southern California has forced several thousand more people to evacuate in a community of artists and resorts, according to the AP.

>> VIDEO: Firefighters battle blaze inside, outside of Bel Air homes

Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Eric Buschow says flames have been creeping closer and slowly surrounding the town of Ojai (OH'hi), and on Tuesday night increasing winds brought them close enough to expand evacuation orders there.

Flames, now about 4 miles away, were visible from the city's downtown for the first time on Tuesday night, and ash was raining down.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Meghan Markle’s ‘Suits’ character ties the knot with co-star in her final episode
Meghan Markle’s ‘Suits’ character ties the knot with co-star in her final episode

Before American actress Meghan Markle marries British royal Prince Harry next month in real life she married her co-star as lawyer Rachel Zane in her final episode of the television drama “Suits.” >> Read more trending news  The last episode featuring Markle aired Wednesday night on USA Network and it also marked the last appearance...
First U.S. memorial to 4,400 victims of lynchings across the South opens in Alabama
First U.S. memorial to 4,400 victims of lynchings across the South opens in Alabama

The first memorial in the United States dedicated to the victims of white supremacy opens in Montgomery, Alabama, Thursday. >> Read more trending news  The National Memorial for Peace and Justice by the non-profit Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI, overlooks the Alabama State Capitol and seeks to shine a light on a terrifying chapter of American...
Smoking in bed blamed for apartment fire that displaces 2 occupants
Smoking in bed blamed for apartment fire that displaces 2 occupants

Smoking in bed is the cause of an apartment fire Wednesday night in the 1900 block of East High Street that displaced the two occupants. Springfield crews were dispatched just after 8 p.m. on a report of a structure fire with smoke showing.  Flames were showing from a second-floor window when crews arrived, said Capt. Dan Faust, Springfield Fire/Rescue...
Kim Kardashian defends Kanye West, accuses Twitter users of ‘demonizing’ him
Kim Kardashian defends Kanye West, accuses Twitter users of ‘demonizing’ him

Musician Kanye West made his return to Twitter earlier this month to chat about a number of topics from new music to politics. However, some of his tweet have fallen flat and have not been well received, so his wife Kim Kardashian West is now coming to his defense.  >> Read more trending news  Many on social media have expressed concern...
Amber Alert issued for 3 Athens County children reportedly taken by their father
Amber Alert issued for 3 Athens County children reportedly taken by their father

UPDATE @ 9:49 p.m.: An Amber Alert has been issued for three children from Athens, Ohio, authorities believe have been taken today by their father following a domestic dispute.  According to Athens police, the incident took place at a home in the 100 block of East State Street, where the children live. If you see the group, you are asked to approach...
More Stories