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Firefighters Battling 'Hurricane-Force' Winds in Creek Fire

10 December 2017
Firefighters Battling 'Hurricane-Force' Winds in Creek Fire

Los Angeles Police Cmdr.

A brush fire driven by gusty winds that have plagued Southern California all week exploded rapidly Thursday north of San Diego, destroying dozens of mobile homes in a retirement community and killing race horses at an elite training facility. The so-called Thomas Fire has grown to 180 square miles (466 square kilometers) since it broke out Monday.

Mandatory evacuation orders remained in several areas, as strong winds helped to spread the flames. The Angeles National Forest raised its fire danger level to extreme.

Ken Pimlott, head of California's fire response, told reporters: "There will be no ability to fight fires in this kind of wind".

"We drove through a wall of flames", Wendy Frank said, describing her ordeal after evacuating her horses from Ojai on Wednesday night.

Classes at UCLA, Cal State Northridge, Los Angeles Valley College and Santa Monica College resumed Friday after being canceled Thursday. More than 5,000 firefighters have been deployed to combat all of these fires.

The neighbourhood is home to celebrities and business leaders including Beyoncé and Elon Musk.

"What you'll see today is more resources up there making an aggressive attack, doing everything we can to try to get our arms all the way around it ... to work towards full containment", Hogan said. The Getty Center and the nearby Skirball Center, both on the west side of the freeway, did not appear to be threatened, though both remained closed Thursday. It said it had not removed its artworks and that air filtration systems were protecting its collection - which includes pieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh and Turner - from smoke damage. A smaller fire in San Bernardino is entirely contained, according to ABC News.

Another blaze north of Los Angeles, named the Creek Fire, was also only 5% contained and covered some 12,600 acres.

The Ventura and LA-area fires have put tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders and destroyed nearly 200 homes and buildings, a figure almost certain to rise.

She had been at her Bonsall home with her younger sister and nephew when her father called from the family nursery to say the fire had reached the gate of their sprawling property.

"We heard the fire engines before six o'clock this morning, and we said, 'Maybe we should start getting our stuff into the vehicle'".