Devastating wildfires continue to rage in Southern California with multiple blazes consuming homes and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declaring a “local state of emergency” in the wake of the Skirball fire which has caused destruction in the neighborhood of Bel-Air. There are five blazes burning in the state with firefighters continuing to battle the flames.
CNN reports that the Thomas Fire in Ventura County has burned over 65,000 acres, forced 50,000 people to evacuate and officials stating that the smoke was having a “severe impact on air quality and visibility.” 1,100 firefighters have attempted to extinguish the Thomas Fire, however USA Today reports containment does not appear to be in sight.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District has kept the current smoke advisory in effect until Thursday and has cautioned that the fires may provide for “unhealthy air quality.” Los Angeles County Interim Health Officer Jeffrey Gunzenhauser urged residents to exercise caution in these difficult conditions.
“It is difficult to tell where ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of dust particles in the air, so we ask all individuals to be aware of their immediate environment and to take actions to safeguard their health,” said Gunzenhauser.
With strong winds expected Thursday evening, firefighters are scrambling to make progress containing the the Skirball fire burning in Bel-Air. Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief Chuck Butler stressed the need to further contain the blaze.
“It’s critically important we get some containment” said Butler of the fire which was at 5% containment Wednesday afternoon.. “When the winds come up, they’re going to come out of the northeast, and they’re going to want to push the fire across the 405 Freeway.”
The Los Angeles Fire Department has vowed to fight on, but LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas concedes the effort has left those battling the fires exhausted.
“We’re in the middle of a weeklong red flag condition. We’re not done,” said Terrazas. “My firefighters have been working since Sunday. Our people are getting tired.”
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