Homes Burning in Bel-Air; 405 Freeway Closed Near Skirball Center

Los Angeles City firefighters battle the Skirball Fire in Bel Air on Wednesday Dec. 06 2017

Los Angeles City firefighters battle the Skirball Fire in Bel Air on Wednesday Dec. 06 2017

Neither is Bel-Air CC, though CBS Los Angeles said the course closed Wednesday "out of an abundance of caution".

Along with the wind, heavy smoke and ash are making it hard for firefighters to contain the fire. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Bel Air as the fire approaches homes in the area.

While art lovers anxious when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news.

TRT World's Frances Read reports from Los Angeles. These fires are fueled by some of the strongest Santa Ana winds in recent memory. On Wednesday, it reported the Ventura County fire consumed 50,500 acres and forced up to 50,000 people to flee their homes.

More than 50,000 Ventura County residents were evacuated from 15,000 homes in the first 24 hours of the conflagration.

"These are days that break your heart but also days that shows the resilience of our city", he said. Santa Monica-Malibu schools are all closed, in addition to most private schools in the area such as John Thomas Dye and Buckley.

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Cal Fire officials said 20 structures were destroyed and several remain threatened as the fire grows at a risky rate of speed. The homes are burning in the tightly-packed Rancho Monserate Country Club community in the small city of Fallbrook.

The acclaimed Getty arts institution - home to masterpieces including "The Spring" by Edouard Manet - was closed until at least Thursday, with museum authorities tweeting that "air filtration systems are protecting the galleries from smoke".

The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. The Thomas Fire is almost 3 times the size of the Tubbs Fire (36,807 acres), which was the most destructive of the fires in Napa and Sonoma counties back in October. The 101 remains open, but authorities warned drivers to be cautious traveling through the area.

Hundreds of firefighters battled flames on the ground as aircraft dropped water and retardant near neighborhoods on the east side of the pass. Commuter traffic snarled in the pass and beyond.

The Skirball Fire is the latest of many which have been raging in the Southern California area.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it had released funds for relief services.

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