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‘Highway to Mordor’: Californians share visuals of driving by raging wildfire

Californians flee homes as two raging wildfires spread over the region, fuelled by strong desert winds.

world Updated: Dec 07, 2017 13:59 IST
California,California wildfire,Los Angeles wildfire
A motorists on Highway 101 watches flames from the Thomas fire leap above the roadway north of Ventura, California.(AP)

Commuters on one of Los Angeles’ busiest highways on Wednesday could be forgiven for thinking they were driving through a dystopian landscape. Looking up from the highway, all they could see was a landscape engulfed by flames.

A wildfire has been raging in the area since Tuesday. Officials said that at least four homes had been destroyed near Interstate 405 and more remained at risk.

Thousands of Californians north and west of Los Angeles have fled their homes as two raging wildfires spread over the region, fuelled by strong desert winds.

In nearby Ventura County, an out-of-control fire which has been named the Thomas Fire, destroyed at least 150 structures and forced 27,000 people to evacuate. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency as more than 1,700 firefighters worked to contain the fire that has burned 65,000 acres by Wednesday morning.

“This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we’ll continue to attack it with all we’ve got,” Brown said in the statement.

In the San Fernando Valley to the north, the so-called Creek Fire destroyed more than 4,000 acres and forced the evacuation of 2,500 homes.

Dry desert winds from Santa Ana, with a speed of 70 miles per hour (115 km per hour) are fuelling the fires and hampering the use of fire-fighting aircraft.

This is the worst season ever for wildfires in California. According to fire officials, as of December 6, 8,747 fires have burned through more than 1 million acres and killed 43 people throughout the state.

California is naturally hot, dry, and prone to fires for parts of the year. But experts say human activity such as building close to fire-prone areas, increasing population and climate change have intensified the wildfires and turned the state into a tinderbox.

First Published: Dec 07, 2017 13:58 IST