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California wind, fire danger hit unprecedented high

08 December 2017, 05:23 | Taylor George

An image shows the scene on the morning commute for drivers in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning

An image shows the scene on the morning commute for drivers in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning

The fire is burning in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles (48km) north of Los Angeles, according to KABC. Neither is Bel-Air CC, though CBS Los Angeles said the course closed Wednesday "out of an abundance of caution".

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over the area Tuesday, announcing: "This fire is very risky and spreading rapidly".

The Thomas Fire, which started at around 6:30pm Monday, is considered a wildfire, and was the first of the three to ignite. Strong winds helped push the fire uphill, putting homes and residents in danger. It grew about 31,000 acres in about 9 hours - that's almost an acre per second the fire was spreading.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's now facing. The Thomas Fire is almost 3 times the size of the Tubbs Fire (36,807 acres), which was the most destructive of the fires in Napa and Sonoma counties back in October.

The authorities said Wednesday night that the fire had been contained by 5 percent. If it's 165 or higher, that's considered extreme.

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The wind and the fires are expected to continue whipping up at least until the end of the day on Thursday, said Umansky.

The last time the Santa Ana winds were this bad - with multiple days of warning level winds and red flags - was 10 years ago, in October 2007.

Other agencies assisting include the U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles County Fire Department and Cal Fire.

Television footage showed the Bel-Air neighborhood home to celebrities and billionaires, where both entrepreneur Elon Musk and pop superstar Beyonce own property.

"We are still in the middle of an aggressive and active firefight on the ground", said Robert Welsbie, spokesman for the Ventura Fire Department.



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