Wildfires Rage in Southern California; Many Buildings Destroyed, Communities Evacuated

Firefighters worked through the night to protect homes in the path of a fast-moving wildfire that tore through hillside brush in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, riding strong wind gusts through neighborhoods and across a major Southern California freeway.

The Woolsey fire forced evacuations in communities northwest of Los Angeles after it began Thursday afternoon amid warm, dry and windy conditions. The fire is threatening about 30,000 homes Friday morning as strong winds cast embers that ignited smaller spot fires and pushed the fire across the 101 Freeway in the Agoura Hills area.

Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Friday  due to the destructive Woolsey Fire and nearby Hill Fire. A state of emergency was declared Thursday for the monster Camp Fire in Northern California.

Evacuations were ordered Friday morning for parts of Malibu south of the 101 Freeway.

“The wind-whipped conditions … this is ripe conditions for explosive fire behavior,” said LAFD Capt. Erik Scott. “This is the new normal. When we have conditions like this, when it’s such incredible wind, that brings us in to a different caliber, so it’s become a much more challenging condition.”

A Los Angeles County Fire Department battalion chief told NBC4 the flames could burn “for days.”

Early Friday, the Woolsey fire burned 10,000 acres, was zero percent contained and damaged multiple structures. About 75,000 homes in the two counties are under evacuation orders, according to Los Angeles County Fire.

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SOURCE: Kelly Whitney and Shahan Ahmed
NBC 4 Los Angeles