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Thursday, December 7, 2017

California: fire threatens Los Angeles, more than 230,000 evacuees


Several fires were raging Wednesday around Los Angeles with more than 230,000 people under evacuation order while thousands of homes were threatened including in the luxurious Bel-Air district, at the end of a dark year for fires in California.

Strong winds

President Donald Trump posted a message of support for the victims of the fire on Twitter, and the Emergency Management Agency (Fema) said it had released funds for relief services.
The authorities warn that the winds should remain strong until Friday even if the firefighters noted a slight lull compared to Tuesday.
The fires feed on thick brushwood only to catch fire as wild grasses have sprouted in the spring after a rainy winter, turning into dry twigs after a spring and summer without rain.

Several fires out of control

"We are living days that break our hearts, but also reflect the resilience of our city," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday.
He told the media that more than 230,000 people were affected by evacuation orders across the counties of Los Angeles and Ventura, which runs along the Pacific and plunges east into the land.
Some 32,000 hectares have already been swallowed by the flames in just over a day, including those of the fire called "Thomas", the largest, about 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles towards Ventura.

12,000 threatened buildings

Attacked by the powerful winds of Santa Ana, he threatened 12,000 structures and was not at all content Wednesday. A victim is for the moment to deplore.
"We have very strong winds (...) that propel these winds quickly," Garcetti added, calling the "Angelenos" to be ready to evacuate at any time.
In the middle of Los Angeles, the fires of "Skirball" and "Getty" started early on Wednesday.
A cloud of black smoke spread across the city and a large dark column rose in the air, visible for tens of miles around. The authorities were worried about the poor quality of the air, unbreathable in some places.

Closed roads

The flames forced the closure of one of the main traffic arteries in Los Angeles, Highway 405, which passes at the foot of the famous Getty Center, closed until Thursday at least.
It houses masterpieces including "The Spring" by Edouard Manet. "An air filtration system" protects the works from the smoke, tweeted the facility, which was designed to withstand fires.
The prestigious UCLA University, also located near this area, had not been evacuated at this stage. But dozens of schools have closed, as has Santa Monica College.
The flames of the "Skirball Fire" ravaged the bushy lands east of Highway 405, where there is a cultural center of the same name. Tuesday, many ranches and stables around had to shelter several hundred horses maddened by the smoke that was approaching.

Dozens of homes destroyed

It destroyed at least four homes, while 150 were destroyed Tuesday in Ventura County by the "Thomas Fire".
People in upscale neighborhoods in Los Angeles, between Mulholland Drive in the north and Sunset Boulevard in the south, received evacuation orders, fire officials said.
Televisions showed the Bel-Air neighborhood where celebrities and billionaires, including entrepreneur Elon Musk and pop star Beyoncé, have homes. In 1961, a historic fire consumed 500 homes in the neighborhood on the Los Angeles hills.

Record fires in 2017

The year 2017 was the deadliest in California because of fires. More than 40 people died in October in more than a dozen fires that ravaged part of the northern wine and razed more than 10,000 buildings.


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