At least 75,000 homes in Southern California at risk from massive fires

The Hill Fire burns in the hills west of Conejo Center Drive in Thousand Oaks, CA, on Thursday, Nov 8, 2018. 

Jeff Gritchen | Digital First Media | Orange County Register | Getty Images 
The Hill Fire burns in the hills west of Conejo Center Drive in Thousand Oaks, CA, on Thursday, Nov 8, 2018. 

More than 75,000 homes in Southern California are under threat from two wind-whipped fires in Southern California which has already burned at least 20 homes and led to mandatory evacuations in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, according to officials.

On Friday morning, mandatory evacuations were expanded after the so-called Woolsey fire crossed the 101 Freeway from the Ventura County area into the Malibu area of Los Angles County. There already are evacuations into effect in several communities in Ventura County, including portions of Westlake Village, Hidden Hills, Calabasas and Agoura Hills.

At least 20 homes were believed lost in Agoura Hills and the Oak Park area of Thousand Oaks, where the fast-moving fire spread Thursday evening and early Friday due to high wind gusts of up to 60 mph or more. Tens of thousands of residents remain under mandatory threat in the fire area.

“We now we have a number of structures that were lost during the firefight overnight,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters Friday during a morning press briefing. “Fortunately there have not been any civilian fatalities as a result of lack of evacuations.”

More than 10,000 acres have burned in the Woolsey fire and another 6,000 acres into the so-called Hill fire near Thousand Oaks. The Hill fire is burning into the footprint of the Springs fire of 2013, causing it to slow, according to Lorenzen.

The Woolsey fire was within 2 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway, heading toward the city of Malibu and threatening multimillion-dollar homes and other structures. Several air tankers were helping battle the fire, dropping fire retardant to slow or stop the spread of flames. Lorenzen said there were “hundreds of firefighters” assigned to the blaze and more fire crews on the way to battle the menacing blaze.

There also was a third brush fire in Southern California in the Griffith Park area in Los Angeles near the Los Angeles Zoo. Smoke was visible from throughout the LA basin, including the downtown area.

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