Strong Winds Complicate California
December 07, 2017
Authorities in southern California warned of extreme fire conditions
Thursday with dry air fanned by strong winds complicating efforts to
battle multiple fires that broke out this week near Los Angeles.
"Let me be clear, no amount of resources can keep up with the predicted
conditions," said CAL Fire Director Ken Pimlott.
With wind gusts of up to 145 kilometers per hour expected to continue
through Friday afternoon, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby
warned people to remain alert as he and other officials urged the public
to evacuate at the first sign of danger.
As of early Thursday, four wildfires were burning in Los Angeles and
The biggest is the Thomas Fire, about 90 kilometers northwest of the
city of Los Angeles, which has burned more than 40,000 hectares and
destroyed 150 buildings.
The newest to spark Wednesday was in
the upscale Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. That fire temporarily
shut down several highways and the Getty Center art complex was closed
to protect the art collection from smoke damage. A fire in 1961 burned
500 homes in the tony neighborhood, some belonging to Hollywood stars.
hundreds Los Angeles schools are closed Thursday.
Fires are not uncommon in
Southern California this time of year before the winter rains set in,
when the vegetation is tinder dry and winds blast the region.
2017 has been a particularly bad year for California fires. Just weeks
ago, wildfires that broke out in Northern California killed 44 people
and destroyed 8,900 homes and other buildings.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday
wildfires have burned more than 400,000 hectares so far this year. The
data does not take into account the fires currently burning.