California has been battling a massive fire over the past three days, and sadly, a new wildfire has just closed Interstate 405 near Los Angeles’ posh Bel Air area, prompting evacuations. So far, California’s recent fires have scorched more than 83,000 acres while ravaging buildings and forcing thousands of people to evacuate.
On Wednesday morning, police shut down nine miles of I-405, one of the nation’s busiest freeways, as fires blazed down a hill toward the highway near Sepulveda Pass and the Getty Center arts complex, CNN reports. Motorists tweeted several photos of the scene (videos and pictures below).
One motorist, Tiffany Lynette Anderson, wrote on Instagram: “It was dark until I saw a gigantic ball of orange. On absolute fire. I’m grateful to be safe — truly grateful.”
Her post, as well as others, came before the interstate was shut down.
CNN reports on the latest developments of the fires:
Wind-whipped wildfires are burning extremely dry terrain along the northern and western edges of Los Angeles, and, more extensively, Ventura County, northwest of the city, for a third day.
Heavy Santa Ana winds blamed for spreading the infernos still threaten to multiply the destruction.
The winds are expected to pick up on Wednesday evening and Thursday — perhaps as gusty as 50 mph, posing a risk of further spread.
Smoke collected even in areas that weren’t burning. Health officials warned people in the heavily populated San Fernando Valley and other parts of the northern Los Angeles area to limit their time outdoors.
The biggest blaze is the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, burning at least 65,000 acres, including parts of Ventura, a city of more than 100,000 people along the Pacific coast. It started Monday evening in a rural area and spread to the city. Officials said the fire has destroyed at least 150 buildings, including an evacuated mental health facility. On Tuesday, the city of Ventura declared a daily curfew, beginning from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., to protect residents and prevent crime such as looting in evacuation areas. More than a quarter of Ventura’s residents (38,000 people) have been told to evacuate. More than 12,000 buildings were under threat, officials said Wednesday.
The Rye Fire near Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County grew to about 7,000 acres. That fire was spotted near the Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.
Creek Fire in northern Los Angeles: The second-largest inferno is the Creek Fire, having burned around 11,000 acres in and near northern Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley since it began Tuesday morning.
More than 80 Los Angeles public and charter schools were closed Wednesday, as were numerous schools in Ventura County.
About 150,000 people in Los Angeles were under evacuation orders Tuesday. The number Wednesday, after the orders given because of the fire near I-405, wasn’t immediately clear.
Selah. It is really bad here. This is what I passed driving into work at 5:45am. iTried to turn around to go home and couldn’t. iDidnt even see the fire until iRode up on it. It was dark until iSaw a gigantic ball of orange. It’s the Bel Air mountains, on the northbound side of the 405 freeway across from the Getty Center. On absolute fire. I’m grateful to be safe; truly grateful. I’m at work with the little one. My boss will make sure I’m ok because she’s thoughtful in that way. My heart is sad today, especially for all the people losing everything and first responders and their families. It is in this moment that my relationship withJESUS means everything to me and that everything my parents ever taught me about HIM trumps the anxiety that’s trying to form in my heart. Please check in with THE LIVING & LOVING GOD. For REAL. His name is #JESUS. #losangeles #fire #405freeway #Selah #God #iLoveYou #YouWillKeepMeSafe #firstresponders #firefighter #police #paramedic #Jesus #Jesus #Jesus #Mercy
— Hansen (@LotusHansen) December 6, 2017
— Rebecca Keegan (@ThatRebecca) December 6, 2017
— Bethany Ellis (@bethanyel) December 6, 2017
— Ross Gerber (@GerberKawasaki) December 6, 2017
Terrible #fire along I-405 highway in Los Angeles. Our thoughts are with those in the affected areas and our brave firefighters. #skirballfire #skirball #belair #belairfire #thomasfire2017 #creekfire #losangeles #gettymuseum #gettycenter #california #firefighter #airquality pic.twitter.com/uG0XVaaLz3
— Los Angeles Consular Corps (@LACCorps) December 6, 2017
— Connie Sellecca (@conniesellecca) December 6, 2017
— MarlaTellez (@MarlaTellez) December 6, 2017
— Candi 🍭🎬🎤🍷 (@CandiGirlLA) December 6, 2017
— Dale Larson (@daleklarson) December 6, 2017