Wind-Driven Woolsey Fire Threatens 30000 Homes
Firefighters are working through the night to protect homes from two large Ventura and Los Angeles county wildfires that were whipped by strong winds that cast barrages of embers into the air.
The Woolsey and Hill fires forced evacuations in communities northwest of Los Angeles after they began Thursday afternoon amid warm, dry and windy conditions. The Woolsey fire is threatening about 30,000 homes Friday morning as strong winds cast embers that ignited smaller spot fires.
“The wind-whipped conditions … this is ripe conditions for explosive fire behavior,” said LAFD Capt. Erik Scott. “This is the new normal. When we have conditions like this, when it’s such incredible wind, that brings us in to a different caliber, so it’s become a much more challenging condition.”
A Los Angeles County Fire Department battalion chief told NBC4 the flames could burn “for days.”
Many homes have been destroyed, but firefighters did not have a firm number Friday morning.
The fires are burning in a community that was already reeling from a mass shooting that left 12 victims dead Wednesday night at a Thousand Oaks bar. The Thousand Oaks Teen Center was a family unification center Thursday, a place where families anxiously waited for updates on loved ones who were at the Borderline Bar. On Friday, the center was an evacuation center for people fleeing the fire.
By early Friday, the Woolsey fire burning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties burned 8,000 acres, was zero percent contained and damaged multiple structures. About 75,000 homes in the two counties are under evacuation orders, according to Los Angeles County Fire.
Along with assisting the growth of the fire, the high winds also deterred air support in battling the flames.
The Woolsey Fire was first reported around 3:30 p.m. and by 4:45 p.m. It started east of Chatsworth near a former Rocketdyne facility.
The Hill Fire burned just five miles away in Newbury Park, forcing more than 1,200 homes to evacuate and prompting the closure of the 101 Freeway. For coverage of that fire, click here.
This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.
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