Wind-whipped wildfires continue to rage across California, as they have across the Western United States for much of this year.
Wednesday marked the third day that a wildfire, dubbed the Thomas Fire, has burned through southern California near Los Angeles, torching buildings and forcing thousands from their homes. As it spread close to the Bel Air area, the fire had already scorched more than 65,000 acres along the northern and western borders of Los Angeles. The fires have been particularly strong northwest of the city in Ventura County.
In the City of Ventura, officials have declared a curfew for residents from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and more than 38,000 people have been told to evacuate the area as a result of the blaze. Meanwhile, more than 150,000 people in the Los Angeles area have been affected by evacuation orders.
There are also fires burning thousands of acres and displacing residents near Santa Clarita and in San Bernadino County.
Videos posted by motorists on I-405 and I-101 near Los Angeles revealed how close the fire is getting to the major thoroughfare.
Not the typical morning commute… pic.twitter.com/kJIOQeqsIK
— A. Mutzabaugh CMT (@WLV_investor) December 6, 2017
— Bethany Ellis (@bethanyel) December 6, 2017
— Lisa Remillard (@LisaRemillard) December 6, 2017
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) December 6, 2017
— Brandi Hitt (@ABC7Brandi) December 6, 2017
These harrowing images come just months after deadly wildfires tore across Sonoma County in California, resulting in a loss of at least 42 lives, around 8,400 buildings destroyed and more than $1 billion in damages. The latest wildfires mark the most destructive wildfire season in California’s history — and are among the state’s most devastating natural disasters to date.
According to state officials, From January 1 to December 3 of this year, there were 6,762 fires that destroyed 505,391 acres — a 43 percent jump in fire events from the previous year.