December 7, 2017
Ventura County Fire Shutters 101 Freeway For Time As Dangerous Winds Loom In SoCal
The massive Thomas Fire that has been roaring through Ventura County north of Los Angeles grew overnight thanks to increasing winds and forced the temporary closure of the 101 Freeway early this morning between the coastal towns of Carpinteria and Ventura. That move for a time shut down all access to Santa Barbara from the city of Ventura; the freeway has just been reopened, according to the CHP.
That fire has now reached 96,000 acres, and officials fear the worst wind day so far this week in Southern California as the region battles major brushfires, scorching almost 120,000 acres altogether. Wind gusts are expected to reach 80 mph in some spots, with humidity under 10%.
In Los Angeles, the Burning index rating, a daily reading of fire danger, is currently at 296, according to fire officials, a record. It’s scale runs from 0 to 165, the latter number indicating “extreme conditions.”
The Skirball Fire, which for a time fully shuttered the key 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass yesterday morning in L.A. destroying four homes and forcing evacuations in Bel-Air and surrounding neighborhoods, kept its line overnight and is at about 450 acres. But nearby UCLA this morning canceled classes for the day amid the uncertainty about the wind. Overnight, firefighters worked to keep the fire from jumping the 405 to the west, where it would have plenty of dry fuel to expand.
At the Rye Fire in Santa Clarita that among other things shuttered production on CBS’ S.W.A.T. for the past two days and HBO’s Westwood on Tuesday when the fire broke out, has burned 7,000 acres but was stopped overnight from encroaching into Simi Valley, one valley to the west of the sprawling San Fernando Valley. The latter Valley now has active fires on three sides (the third, the Creek Fire in Sylmar and Sunland/Tujunga, is at 12,605 acres and 10% contained). San Fernando Valley schools are shuttered for the rest of the week.