Fires menace Los Angeles

A firefighter battles the Thomas fire in the town of La Conchita early Thursday

A firefighter battles the Thomas fire in the town of La Conchita early Thursday

Southern California residents and visitors fleeing the wildfires raging around Los Angeles are contending with a new problem - mapping apps that are reportedly directing them towards areas that are on fire. Winds are expected to strengthen, and gusts are threatening to reach 80 miles per hour. Tim Lohman of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said an unidentified body had been found overnight.

Six fires burning out of control amid hurricanes in California have claimed the life of a woman as well as hundreds of homes. It began at 3:43 a.m. PT, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

A woman was found dead in a wrecked auto in an evacuation zone near the city of Santa Paula, where the Ventura County blaze began Monday night, but officials could not immediately say whether the accident was fire-related. Propane tanks under several houses exploded from the heat, sounding like bombs, according to a Reuters photographer at the scene.

Cal Fire chief Ken Pimlott said the strong winds were compounding the difficulty of fighting the fires.

The Pentagon announced that the California National Guard is deploying 65 troops to assist in the fire-fighting efforts, which are being hampered by the seasonal Santa Ana winds. "These will be winds that there will no ability to fight fires". Flames hopscotched over highways and railroad tracks, and residents rushed to evacuate their homes with only minutes' warning, some leaving behind holiday gifts.

Firefighters across Southern California are battling four major fires, and brutal Santa Ana winds are expected to continue fanning the flames into Thursday.


Out-of-control wildfires are raging in and near Los Angeles. Most of the Ojai Valley had been placed under a mandatory evacuation order.

The smoke plume from the fires extends over 1,000 miles into the Pacific, which would stretch from New York City to Miami.

Mr Murdoch said in a statement: "The property was evacuated but based on what we are seeing on TV there may be damage to some buildings in the upper vineyard area". Los Angeles County fire officials said the blaze, which was estimated to have burned 12,605 acres, was at 10 percent containment Thursday morning.

"Anyone in your homes still, you need to leave now", a California Highway Patrol officer said through a loudspeaker while driving down a smoke-shrouded street. The incident caught the attention of a veterinarian, who tranquilized the horse, and the locals helped break down the structure the horse had fallen between and firemen helped get the horse out of the ditch and to an evacuation center, according to Silva's Fox 11 report. They come late in the year when weather conditions typically stifle potential fires and some have sprouted up in the middle of dense urban areas typically far from fire zones.

"We have a very sophisticated filtration system that was built into the Getty and it literally reverses the flow of air", Hartwig said.

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