U.S. wildfires destroys homes, forces thousands to flee

Irfan Khan—LA Times via Getty Images

"These are days that break your heart".

Flames burned a wine storage shed at media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 16-acre (6.5-hectare) Moraga Vineyards estate and appeared to have damaged about 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vines, a spokeswoman said.

State fire director Ken Pimlott said winds that eased in the afternoon could return with gusts up to 80mph on Thursday that would make it impossible to fight the fire.

A SigAlert was issued for the closure of all northbound lanes on the 405 Freeway just after 5 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol's traffic incident log.

Some 500 firefighters are battling the fire along with water-dropping helicopters and airplanes laying down streams of fire retardant. Four homes burned near Bel Air before firefighters got the upper hand.

Immediately, she said, they packed their cars with clothes and with family mementos like her sons' bar mitzvah videos, grabbed the family dog, Georgie, and a few other items they had accumulated in the 20 years they lived there.

"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. "Air filtration systems are protecting the galleries from smoke".

"Heck yeah I'm still anxious", Rosenzweig said. "Until the last ember is out, I will continue to worry".

Harrison said the winds will weaken by Friday and Saturday, but critical conditions could remain.

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Emails have been sent to both Riviera and Bel-Air clubs.

The winery, bought by Mr Murdoch for about 30 million dollars in 2013, has been evacuated.

Weather forecasters say this could make for extremely risky conditions.

The wildfire has reportedly reached about 50 acres in size and is still growing, fueled by 25-mph winds. "You know it's a serious moment when a firefighter comes running to you asking for help". As of Thursday morning, the fire had grown to 96,000 acres.

In addition to the mandatory evacuations, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart says a wider area on the east side of the pass has been advised to get ready in case of evacuation orders.

A weather vane is pictured on a ranch during the Creek Fire in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, in Sylmar, California, U.S., December 5, 2017.

In Ventura County northwest of L.A., the biggest and most destructive of the wildfires destroyed at least 150 structures. "So please, take this serious, pack a bag, be ready to go".

On Wednesday firefighters managed to stop the spread of a wildfire that has destroyed homes near the world-famous Getty museum in Los Angeles.

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