As Fires Spread Across Los Angeles, Museums and Galleries Close

As Fires Spread Across Los Angeles, Museums and Galleries Close

The conditions are so risky that the National Weather Service created a new color, purple, to designate areas of extreme risk from high winds, according to

Hundreds of engines are coming from fire departments in other states, LA County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said.

Additional evacuations were called for late Wednesday in the Ventura area, where 50,000 people had already fled their homes over the last three days.

Around 30,000 people live in Santa Paula, while Ventura has a population of about 110,000.

Millions of cellphones buzzed loudly Wednesday night from San Diego to Santa Barbara with a sound that usually means an Amber Alert, but this time meant a rare weather warning for strong winds making extreme fire danger.

The eruption of the Skirball Fire prompted mandatory evacuation orders and the closure of the 405 freeway - one of the busiest in the nation - for part of Tuesday afternoon. She and her husband were about to evacuate again, hoping they will get lucky twice as the new winds arrive.

"Yesterday, (my mom) sent me pictures of houses across the street from her in flames right before she evacuated", said campus junior Madison Avrea, who grew up in Oak View and Ventura, in an email. Cal Fire investigators are exploring whether PG&E's lines sparked any of the fires that tore through the North Bay in October, killing 44 people.

And the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League, which hold workouts near the Ventura County fire, canceled practice Wednesday.

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No civilian casualties or fatalities have been reported but three firefighters were injured, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

The Getty Center closed on Tuesday and remained closed on Wednesday.

U.S. media reported that the Bel-Air Moraga Estate of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, which contains a vineyard, was threatened by the wildfire.

"But that will only happen if a number of factors are in place that will guarantee the health and safety of our students and staff", Ventura Unified School District Superintendent Dave Creswell said in a statement.

The largest blaze, the Thomas Fire, burned more than 36,000 hectares after it destroyed more than 150 homes and threatened thousands more in Ventura, about 80 km northwest on Los Angeles.

In issuing his emergency proclamation to secure state and federal disaster resources, Brown cited the destruction, the threats to critical infrastructure and the high winds.

"There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds", Pimlott said.

"We're basically in an urban firefight in Ventura, where if you can keep that house from burning, you might be able to slow the fire down", said Tim Chavez, a fire behavior specialist at the blaze. "But that's about it".

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