Culture&Arts

Why the California wildfires are spreading so quickly

Why the California wildfires are spreading so quickly

Multi-million dollar mansions were destroyed in Los Angeles' Bel Air neighborhood, where many celebrities own homes and media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has a $30 million estate, the Moraga Bel Air Winery.

Southern California Edison, the electric utility serving Ventura County, may shut down its power lines in high-wind areas this week to prevent more fires from breaking out, the company said Wednesday.

"These conditions, combined with the heat that is now. coming to the area, the dryness, the amount of vegetation in some of the areas still that have not burned, makes this still a very threatening environment", he said. The closure led to massive congestion on many streets in the San Fernando Valley and in West Los Angeles.

The L.A. Fire Department said at least four structures have been destroyed, and the fire was 5 percent contained. Residents living west of the 405 should brace for evacuations, too, should flames jump the freeway, officials say.

About 125 firefighters and two helicopters were at the scene battling the blaze, Stewart said.

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Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has declared a state of emergency, with the so-called Skirball blaze forcing evacuations of thousands of residents in the exclusive enclave. That means they need new legions of firefighters to try to get them under control.

"We also can look for hotspots, " Terrazas said.

"We stand a good chance of a challenging night and day tomorrow", Cal Fire spokesman Tim Chavez said, adding that there's potential for fire growth on the northwest side and a high probability of spot fires.

The acclaimed Getty arts institution - home to masterpieces including "The Spring" by Edouard Manet - was closed until at least Thursday, with museum authorities tweeting that "air filtration systems are protecting the galleries from smoke". "So it pushes air out of the building rather than allowing air filled with smoke and ash to come in". "Until the last ember is out, I will continue to worry". The Rye and Creek fires, continued burning through a combined 29 square miles north of Los Angeles, while the Skirball Fire's smaller reach forced evacuations in ritzy Bel Air and caused the University of California in Los Angeles to cancel classes on Thursday, just two days before final exams. In the wake of that blaze brush clearing was required and water pressure was increased, he said.

Winds will gradually weaken Friday and Saturday, officials said.

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