An Ominous Fire Shutsdown The Busiest Freeway in LA ~ The 405
Update 12/16/17 Strong winds drove one of the biggest wildfires in California’s history toward Santa Barbara and the nearby wealthy enclave of Montecito Saturday, prompting residents to flee as authorities issued new evacuation orders.
The 404-square-mile Thomas Fire was moving rapidly westward and crested Montecito Peak, just north of Montecito. Known for its star power, the enclave boasts the mansions of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and many other celebrities.” It is right above the homes,” fire spokesman Jude Olivas told the Associated Press.
Mandatory evacuations around Montecito and neighboring Summerland came as winds that had eased a day earlier roared back at around 30 mph, with gusts to about 60 mph. Firefighters stood by yellow fire trucks with hoses unspooled, ready to protect the historic San Ysidro Ranch as heavy smoke rose from the coastal hills, blotting out the blue skies. Will Carr reports from Los Angeles. First firefighter dies battling California wildfires.
Update 12/08/17: Please use www.fire.ca.gov to stay up to date with the containment of all the fires in Southern California. California has endured the worst fires in 2017. I will update the containment of each fire; stay tuned. On Twitter, you can go to @NWSLosAngeles, @R5_Fire_News and @CAgovernment.
VENTURA, Calif. — There’s one thing constant as the ever-growing Thomas Fire enters its fifth day Friday — relentless winds.
Santa Ana winds continued to make the 132,000-acre, or 206.5-square mile, fire more dangerous, spreading flames north of Ojai city limits, past La Conchita and into Santa Barbara County.
Wind speeds were expected to average 15-30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, according to forecast information from the National Weather Service. By Friday evening, winds are expected to drop to around 15 mph. However, winds remain in the forecast through Saturday night, along with single-digit relative humidity and above-average temperatures, leading the National Weather Service to extend its red-flag fire warning for the county through Sunday.
The Ventura County, Calif., fire is now 10% contained.
On Friday, President Trump approved an emergency declaration for California.
In a statement, the declaration orders “Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from wildfires beginning on December 4, 2017, and continuing.”
The declaration enables the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance “to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura.”
California Gov. Jerry Brown had requested the emergency declaration.
New developments of the fire had authorities concerned most of Thursday, not just because of the expansion but its trajectory into dry fuel beds.
Cal Fire Capt. John Clingingsmith said the Ojai Valley and La Conchita haven’t had a history of fires.
“There’s a lot of dead fuels up there,” said Clingingsmith. “And when we have no fire history, that could be decades worth of dead slash and trees and brush and everything.”
New fire activity continued throughout the county, including in a remote area near Fillmore and Santa Paula that produced big plumes of smoke. By late Thursday, authorities said they were able to get a handle on much of the fire perimeter and make progress on mopping up problem areas.
Strong winds, which haven’t taken a break since the fire started near Santa Paula on Monday, have limited aircraft deployment as well as the possibility of displaced residents being allowed to return soon.
An ominous fire threatening the 405 Freeway and its commuters had to be shutdown this morning; closed off at the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. A second fire was burning and threatening the Getty Center.
For 10 years, I drove on the 405 and two things you should do before getting on the 405 freeway; go to bathroom and take a bottle of water and a snack because the traffic on six lanes was usually bumper to bumper moving at a turtle’s pace. But who could complain, this was part of LA and it certainly had a different drumbeat to this lifestyle in one of the biggest cities in America.
I lived between two of the busiest streets in LA; between Wilshire Blvd with all the high rise luxury condominiums and Santa Monica Blvd; going west to the beach, going east to Beverley Hills. It is a little peculiar why so many fires have started near populated areas. Five fires altogether in different Los Angeles areas. People say, it’s been very dry and no sign of rain; yet. Firefighters and homeowners are in the midst off containing these fires and saving their homes.
The fire in Ventura county has burned the most homes. Here’s a summary of all the fires as of today December 6, at 5:58 am.
“Multiple fires are raging in Southern California. A series of Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires have destroyed at least 180 structures, forced thousands to flee and smothered the region with smoke in what officials predicted would be a pitched battle for days.”
Here’s what you need to know:
On early Wednesday morning in and near Bel-Air, a fire shutdown the northbound 405 freeway near the Getty Center. The LAPD did order evacuation of homes along Casiano Road, Moraga Drive and Linda Flora Drive. The LAPD said, residents of Mandeville Canyon and Sullivan Canyon should be prepared for evacuation. As of Wednesday morning, the 150-acre fires was 0% contained. It was reported four to six homes were destroyed.
In Ventura County, the Thomas fire has reached the Pacific Ocean uncontrolled and jumped the 101 Freeway onto Solimar Beach. It has consumed 50,500 acres and 27,000 people were forced to evacuate. For now, the 101 Freeway remains open. As of this morning 50,000 people had evacuated. Fifty structures were damaged but fire officials expect that number to increase significantly.
In Sylmar, the Creek fire jumped the 210 Freeway and has spread into Shadow Hills and the Los Angeles National Forest.
In Santa Clarita, the Rye fire has spread to 5,000 acres, triggering evacuations and gridlock as well.
In San Bernardino, a blaze in the foothills threatened the city’s Cal State campus on Tuesday and prompted the closure of the 215 Freeway.
Stay tuned for more updates regarding the status of these dangerous fires.
Everyone living in these areas should collect those papers that are the most important and pack as much as they choose to. Be ready and proactive. Don’t procrastinate and most of all, stay safe for your loved ones. ~ Natalie