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Angel-Town becomes Fire-Town

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 10:57
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By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host
The City of Angels is ground zero for a new aggressive fire that has joined the growing list of blazes in California, erupting at about 5:00 am this morning, local time.  The Skirball Fire, near the Getty Center in Los Angeles, has forced the complete shutdown of a part of the 405 Freeway, and the I-10 West as it approaches the 405.  School closures have been called in Santa Monica, Malibu, and many other locations in and around the Los Angeles area.  Evacuation Centers have been set up in half a dozen locations outside the war zone.

Mandatory evacuations around the Skirball Fire on the east-side of the 405 Freeway has thousands of residents fleeing neighborhoods as the fire spreads near a number of communities.  The fire is currently at 150 acres, is still completely out of control, and is creating a very unhealthy air-quality condition in the Los Angeles area.

Motorists have been trapped on various freeways and roadways as freeway closures and road closures, due to the flames being so close to these avenues of travel, has redirected traffic into already congested travel corridors. 

Fire retardant and water drops have been conducted throughout the morning (six fix-winged aircraft, as well as a number of helicopters). 

The neighborhoods at risk by the Skirball Fire are multi-million dollar homes in the hills surrounding the northern region of Los Angeles.  Firefighters are doing what they can to save houses.  At current count, six homes have been lost to the voracious flames of the Skirball Fire.

Fire crews from around the State, and even from outside the State, are being called in to help fight the fires in California.  For the Skirball Fire, 350 firefighters are on the scene, as are 52 engines.  100 police personnel are also on site, primarily to help with evacuations, and to reduce instances of crime as these evacuated homes are left vulnerable after the residents have fled.

Thick smoke has made it difficult to see, and operate, as the firefighters battle the blazes.

The homes that have gone up in flame were in neighborhoods completely surrounded by the fire, burning to the ground despite the heroic efforts of the firefighters on the ground.  The fire brings back memories of the Bel Air-Brentwood Fire in 1961, during which nearly 500 homes were destroyed.

A massive 50,000 acres fire near Ventura has prompted the city to enact a daily curfew from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am.  As with the other Southern California fires, powerful Santa Ana winds and extremely dry conditions have fueled the largest of the fires, the Thomas Fire, which has jumped the 101 Freeway, burning an acre per second as it creeps towards the coast.  The Thomas Fire remains 0% contained.  38,000 people have been evacuated.  It is estimated that over 150 buildings have been destroyed by the Thomas Fire.

Closer to Los Angeles about 150,000 people have been evacuated as the Creek Fire, near Sylmar and Lake View Terrace, marches towards those neighborhoods.

Power outages have left about 43,000 homes without power.  More outages are expected as flames continue to burn along power transmission paths.

The Rye Fire near Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County grew to about 5,000 acres and is currently about 5% contained. That fire is burning near the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park in Valencia.

The Inland Empire has two blazes smoking up the sky.  One is being called the Little Mountain fire, which has grown to over 100 acres, and remains 0% contained.

On Tuesdays I spend the morning at a Banning-Beaumont-Cherry Valley Tea Party Breakfast Meeting in Banning, pre-record Conservative Voice Radio at the KMET 1490AM studio in Cherry Valley, and then head to Corona to teach one of my Constitution Classes.  During the drive from the San Gorgonio Pass to Corona, not only were the Santa Ana winds roaring in a manner I have not seen in a long time, but the smoke in the air was nearly unbearable as it worked its way into my car through the windows and vents.

To my right, as I traveled along the I-10 Freeway, and approached the I-215 Freeway, I could see flames on the hillsides.  Ahead, in the distance towards the Los Angeles Basin, the darkened sky told me that the fires around L.A. were even more massive than the ones in the Inland Empire. 

While the winds are slowing down right now, they are expected to pick up again tonight, with a high wind warning lasting through Friday.

Several Fires are also currently burning in Northern California, as well as in the States of Oregon and Washington.

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