Southern California Wildfires Nearing LA Airports, Close Down 405 Freeway

Dec 6, 2017

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At least four out-of-control wildfires are blazing in Southern California and forcing the evacuations of thousands. One fire is nearing LAX and Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), and has already forced authorities to closed down parts of the 405 Freeway in what’s expected to be a brutal job for firefighters that will last several days.

John Bain and Brandon Baker take cover from the embers as they try to help stop a fire from burning a stranger's home on in Ventura, California. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
John Bain and Brandon Baker take cover from the embers as they try to help stop a fire from burning a stranger’s home on in Ventura, California. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Currently, the fires are not affecting air travel.

“The airport is open and flights remain operational, although we remind passengers to check their flight status with their airline.,” Burbank Airport said on Twitter.

A brushfire moving with the wind sends embers all over the place in residential neighborhoods north of Ventura, California. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A brushfire moving with the wind sends embers all over the place in residential neighborhoods north of Ventura, California. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Dozens of homes are destroyed in a neighborhood in view of the Thomas fire from helicopter. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Dozens of homes are destroyed in a neighborhood in view of the Thomas fire from helicopter. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“It’s critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so,” Brown said in a statement.

The Skirball Fire, as fire officials are calling it, has torn through 50 acres and injured three people since it broke out Wednesday morning, but, fueled by 25 mph Santa Ana winds and dry conditions, is expected to grow through Thursday and possibly beyond. Several Bel Air homes are reportedly on fire, and the fire is poised to engulf the million-dollar homes of some of Los Angeles’s wealthier neighborhoods, including Brentwood. The J. Paul Getty Museum has closed because of the smoke, and most schools in the area have shut their doors. Both sides of the 405 have been shut down between the 101 and the 10.

Home between Via Baja and Foothill goes up in flames. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Home between Via Baja and Foothill goes up in flames. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

There have been no reported fatalities yet, but the first fire, which began Monday and has been dubbed the Thomas Fire, prompted the evacuations of 27,000 residents from Ventura County on Tuesday and has burned at least 65,000 acres. It has jumped Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara.

A home is destroyed by brush fire as Santa Ana winds help propel the flames to move quickly through the landscape. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A home is destroyed by brush fire as Santa Ana winds help propel the flames to move quickly through the landscape. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A strong wind blows embers around a resident hosing his burning property during the Creek Fire in Sunland, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
A strong wind blows embers around a resident hosing his burning property during the Creek Fire in Sunland, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Another fire by the Angeles National Forest, the Creek Fire, has burned more than 11,000 acres, caused mandatory evacuation orders for 150,000 residents, and was responsible for the deaths of dozens of horses. The Creek Fire has destroyed at least 30 structures so far.

Remnants of a burned down a home as a brush fire continues to threaten other homes. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Remnants of a burned down a home as a brush fire continues to threaten other homes. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Wearing his Christmas garb Justin Ekback watches as Firefighters fight to save multi-million dollar homes along Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road and North Victoria Avenue Tuesday midday after a fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into Ventura destroying many homes early Tuesday, burning over 45,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Wearing his Christmas garb Justin Ekback watches as Firefighters fight to save multi-million dollar homes along Cobblestone Drive. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Another fire near Santa Clarita, the Rye Fire, has burned 5,000 acres and forced evacuations of schools and trailer parks.

Local residents pass by a burning house during the Thomas wildfire. (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Local residents pass by a burning house during the Thomas wildfire. (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

The freeway closure has already caused a tremendous number of traffic problems in Los Angeles — the 405 is the main conduit to LAX — and social media has been flooded with photos taken by commuters and passengers showing scenes of cars and planes against hellish backdrops that seem like they could have been spliced in from a Michael Bay action movie.

A firefighter sprays water at the remains of an apartment complex destroyed by the Thomas Fire. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A firefighter sprays water at the remains of an apartment complex destroyed by the Thomas Fire. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A resident evacuate a horse along Nye Road as the Thomas fire approaches in Casita Springs. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A resident evacuate a horse along Nye Road as the Thomas fire approaches in Casita Springs. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

TPG editor-at-large Zach Honig is currently at LAX and posted a photo on Twitter showing smoke over the San Gabriel mountain range, noting that the airport “seems unaffected for now.”

Feature photo: Edward Aguilar runs through the flames from the Thomas Fire to save his cats at his mobile home along Highway 33 in Casita Springs in Ventura County Tuesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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