More than 27,000 citizens had been evacuated by Wednesday afternoon, and evacuation orders were mounting at the locations of the various LA County fires.
"We had the fire come through here, pretty dramatically, all night long", said Karen Heath-Karayan, who stayed up with her husband to douse flaming embers that rained on their home and small lot where they sell Christmas trees.
Oscar Martinez, 37, of Panorama City, said a friend was able to save his two horses - Chikilin and Prieta - after the fire erupted at Rancho Padilla, where the equines were staying. All other Sylmar-area schools will remain open. "To anyone in the region, it is imperative that you comply with evacuation orders and call 9-1-1 if you need immediate assistance". Unusually heavy Santa Ana winds have created extremely hazardous conditions that are causing fires to grow at an extremely fast rate.
In a scene reminiscent of the October fires in the North Bay, video posted by the Los Angeles Times showed dozens of homes burning in one neighborhood as the fire raced through terrain that reportedly had not burned for decades. So far it has consumed at least 45,000 acres and burned down at least 150 structures, including a 200-unit apartment complex and Vista Del Mar, a psychiatric hospital.
"The fire growth is just absolutely exponential", Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said.
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SCE has made the early assessment that given the origin of both the Thomas and Creek Fires, and the continuing performance of the electric utility system, "there is no indication that the company' facilities were a source of these fires".
Several schools were shut down through Thursday, as well.
They hosed down their roof and hit hot spots before winds pushed the fire over a hill toward neighboring Ventura, a city of 106,000 where more people were ordered to clear out.
"We realize what an inconvenience this is and how traumatic this is to so many people, but we've watched fires in Northern California, we've seen through experience it's much better to err on the side of safety", Garcetti said at a Wednesday afternoon news briefing.
"This fire is very risky and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got", said Governor Brown. More than half of the homes lost in the fire were in or near Santa Rosa.