<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - ]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbclosangeles.com/feature/wildfireshttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.pngNBC Southern California https://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usSat, 16 Dec 2017 17:01:50 -0800Sat, 16 Dec 2017 17:01:50 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Battle Against Thomas Fire Estimated to Cost $103.9M]]>Sat, 16 Dec 2017 13:24:06 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Thomas-fire-utilities.jpg

The massive Thomas Fire exploded to 259,000 acres by Saturday after it scorched through Ventura and Santa Barbara County for a 12th day. Fire crews have been able to contain the monstrous blaze by 40 percent and expect it to be fully contained by Jan. 7, 2018.

Dry heat and Santa Ana winds have posed a threat for firefighters as conditions have been fueling the blaze since it first began on Monday, Dec. 4. A red flag warning will remain in effect through Sunday evening, with experts expecting gusts of winds to reach up to 40 mph.

The northerly "sundowner" wind was driving the fire south and west.

"When the sundowners surface in that area and the fire starts running down slopes, you are not going to stop it," Mark Brown with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said at a news conference. "And we are not going to stand in front of it and put firefighters in untenable situations."

The flames destroyed nearly 1,000 structures and the cost associated with battling the fire is $103,912,000, according to Cal Fire. One Cal Fire engineer’s life was claimed by the fire after 32-year-old Cory Iverson of Escondido died battling the inferno.

The wind-driven blaze, which has been dubbed as the state’s third-largest wildfire ever, prompted mandatory evacuations for some 95,000 people in the flames’ path.

Evacuation orders are still in effect for the areas of Sespe Creek to the west, Burson Ranch to the east, the Los Padres Forest boundary to the north and the Fillmore City limits to the south.

By around 10 a.m., new mandatory evacuations were issued for the areas north of the 101 Freeway, south of the 192 Freeway, west of Toro Canyon Road and east of Summit Road. The 101 Freeway was closed at Seacliff Road to allow people to evacuate.

The Santa Barbara Zoo, which is near the mandatory evacuation zone, announced it was putting some animals in crates to prepare for possible evacuation. The zoo has about 150 species of animals, including a pair of Amur leopards, a critically endangered species.

Everything about the fire has been massive, from the sheer scale of destruction that cremated entire neighborhoods to the legions attacking it: about 8,300 firefighters from nearly a dozen states, aided by 78 bulldozers and 29 helicopters.

Numerous schools announced closures in wake of the fire:

  • Fillmore Unified School District
  • Santa Paula Unified School District
  • Ventura Unified School District
  • Briggs Elementary School
  • Mupu Elementary School
  • Oxnard Union HSD
  • Rio Elemantary School
  • Santa Clara Elementary School
  • Ventura Charter School
  • California State University, Channel Islands’ Goleta campus will remain closed through Dec. 23.
  • All VCOE-operated schools in the Ojai Unified and Ventura Unified School Districts will be closed through Dec. 22.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Map: See Where Wildfires Are Burning in California]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:23:35 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/226*120/09-06-2017-calfire-fire-map-california-1.jpg

This map displays fire information collected by CAL FIRE, the state firefighting agency. Click on each location for more information, including containment figures and the size of the fire.

High fire risk is expected to last into January, adding to fears that 2017's deadly and destructive wildfire danger will continue. CAL FIRE reported more than 6,760 fires in California from Jan. 1 to Dec. 3. Those fires scorched more than 505,000 acres. During that same period last year, Cal Fire reported 4,742 fires that burned 244,297 acres.

The state is coming off one of its wettest winters in years, which left hillsides covered in grass and other vegetation. That grass dried out this summer and turned into tinder, providing fuel for rapidly spreading fires often pushed by strong winds.

The devastating result was an October firestorm that destroyed 5,700 homes and other businesses in Northern California and killed 42 people. 

An increase in the number of dead and dying trees also can exacerbate the wildfire threat, CAL FIRE officials said. An estimated 102 million trees have died in California due to the state's five-year dry spell and bark beetle infestation.

The agency has been urging residents to take prevention steps, such as maintaining 100 feet of defensible space around homes and other structures. Defensible space provides a natural buffer between buildings and grass, trees, bushes, shrubs and other vegetation that can burn.



Photo Credit: CAL FIRE/National Forest Service
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<![CDATA[Skirball Fire Fully Contained]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:05:28 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-887188462.jpg

The Skirball Fire was fully contained Friday after burning for 10 days in the Sepulveda Pass, destroying six homes. The fire was declared 100 percent contained about 6 p.m, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

"Firefighters will continue to monitor the area to ensure safety," the LAFD's Erik Scott said.

The fire scorched 422 acres after breaking out shortly before 5 a.m. on Dec. 6. It was determined to have been caused by "an illegal cooking fire" at a homeless encampment in a brush area next to where Sepulveda Boulevard crosses under the San Diego (405) Freeway, authorities said.

No one was at the scene of the fire's origin when firefighters arrived, and no one has been arrested, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The flames also damaged 12 homes, and prompted the evacuation of about 700 homes and an apartment building in the Bel-Air area.

One firefighter suffered neck burns during the battle and was treated at a hospital. Two other firefighters suffered minor injuries. The initial acreage was adjusted downward from 475 acres due to more accurate mapping, LAFD officials said.

The fire was kept on the east side of the San Diego Freeway. Some evacuees were allowed to return home last Friday, and all remaining evacuation orders were lifted Sunday. All road closures have been lifted, with no restrictions in place.

Just under 70 firefighters were working on the blaze Thursday. Councilman Paul Koretz introduced an emergency motion Wednesday asking various city departments to report on the problem of hillside homeless encampments. The motion, which was approved on an 11-0 vote, calls for reports from the city's fire and police departments, as well as the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and Caltrans.

"What we've been told most recently indicates that the (Skirball) fire was started at a homeless encampment hidden by ridges and foliage from view, and so it is believed that this property not only was not visible to anyone but also was not a property controlled by the city of Los Angeles," Koretz said.

Koretz wants the departments to report on the specific encampment connected to the Skirball Fire to determine if homeless people were trespassing on land not open to the public when they set the illegal cooking fire. The motion also asked that the reports identify homeless encampments in very high fire severity zones and what actions can be taken to prevent trespassing in those areas.

Evacuation orders covered a 3.2-square-mile area bounded by Mulholland Drive to the north, Sunset Boulevard to the south, the San Diego Freeway to the west and Roscomare Road on the east. The exception to the evacuation order was the Bel-Air Crest housing development, which was not threatened, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

In its first week, the fire prompted the closures of the Getty Center and the nearby Skirball Center, both on the west side of the freeway, as well as 265 Los Angeles Unified School District schools. Additionally, classes were canceled at few nearby colleges. The fire burned in the same general area as the devastating Bel-Air Fire of 1961. That blaze destroyed about 500 homes and led to various policy changes, including a prohibition on wood-shingle roofs and a strict requirement to clear brush around properties.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Burns Simulated Disaster Zone Used to Train Search Dogs]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:23:03 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/12-15-2017-search-dog-training-thomas-fire-55.jpgSearch dogs and their handlers are trained to respond to natural disasters. But earlier this month, they were getting out of the way of one in Southern California.

Photo Credit: National Disaster Search Dog Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[More Evacuations Ordered Due to Thomas Fire]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 07:16:55 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/More_Evacuations_Ordered_Due_to_Thomas_Fire.jpg

The Thomas fire burned in the hills above Fillmore early Friday, forcing more evacuations. Toni Guinyard reports for Today in LA on Friday Dec. 15, 2017.

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<![CDATA[Photos: What to Keep in Your Disaster Emergency Kit]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 10:47:20 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Earthquake+Kit+19.jpgThe American Red Cross provided NBC Los Angeles with a list of things that every household should keep in a backpack in the event of a natural disaster. Whether it's an earthquake, flood or wildfire, these items can help families be prepared for the worst. The items below can be kept in a disaster preparedness kit.

Photo Credit: American Red Cross]]>
<![CDATA[List: California's Most Destructive Wildfires]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:13:08 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-77479288.jpg

California has faced some of the state's worst wildfires in 2017, which included the devastating October Fire Siege in the North Bay region and the December Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. 

Below, a look at the five most-damaging wildfires recorded in California. The figures, obtained from CAL FIRE, are based on the number of structures — homes, barns, garages, sheds, commercial properties and other buildings — that were destroyed. 

Editor's Note: The December 2017 Thomas Fire was the 10th most destructive wildfire in California history as of Dec. 12. 

Tubbs Fire, October 2017

The Tubbs fire was the most destructive of a complex of wildfires known as the October Fire Siege in California's Wine Country. The fire, fanned by unrelenting winds in Sonoma and Napa counties, destroyed 5,643 buildings and resulted in 21 deaths, according to CAL FIRE. The fire started in the Calistoga area on the night of Oct. 8, spreading at a stunning rate and burning through entire neighborhoods, forcing some residents to run from their homes in search of shelter. The official cause remains under investigation.

Oakland Hills Fire, October 1991

Also called the Tunnel fire, the firestorm scorched hillsides in northern Oakland and southeastern Berkeley during an October weekend. Responsible for 25 deaths, it remains the most destructive wildfire on record in California. The fire, rekindled from an earlier grass fire, burned only 1,600 acres — not large when compared to other wildfires on the list. But it was located in a densely populated area with houses and other buildings in its path and ended up destroying 2,900 structures. Fanned by powerful wind gusts, the flare-up grew into a wall of fire that left some residents trapped in an inferno.

Cedar Fire, October 2003

The catastrophic San Diego County Cedar fire remains the largest fire in California history. The 273,000-acre firestorm wiped out 2,820 structures and resulted in 15 deaths. The fire was started by a lost hunter who started a signal fire in Cleveland National Forest near Julian. It grew into a burning monster that stormed through wilderness areas and rural communities.

Valley Fire, September 2015

The 76,000-acre fire burned nearly 2,000 structures in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties. In just about 24 hours, strong wind gusts pushed the fire to about 50,000 acres after it was started by a faulty electrical connection that caused nearby dry grass to ignite. Four residents were killed.

Witch Fire, October 2007

Damaged power lines caused arcing that set off another monstrous fire in San Diego County. The 197,990-acre Witch fire destroyed 1,650 structures. It burned during an onslaught of large wildfires in Southern California that scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in October 2007.

Old Fire, October 2003

A 91,200-acre fire that burned 1,650 structures in San Bernardino County was set by a man in a fit of rage after a dispute with his godfather, according to prosecutors. Rickie Lee Fowler, convicted of murder and arson, was sentenced to death. Six deaths were reported in the fire, which began after a lighted road flare was tossed into the brush.



Photo Credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[List: California's Deadliest Wildfires]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:47:59 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cedarfireya.jpg

Northern California communities faced some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in the state's history. Fanned by strong wind gusts, flames raced through parts of several counties during October 2017.

It is a tragic reminder of the potential for devastation in a state where dry conditions, powerful October winds and heat combine to increase the threat of rapidly spreading wildfires.

Below, a look at some of the state's deadliest fires.

Griffith Park Fire, October 1933

What started as a debris pile fire in Los Angeles' 4,300-acre park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains became California's deadliest wildfire. On Oct. 3, 1933, Depression-era workers were taking care of other projects in the park when they were dispatched to fight the fire. Not trained in firefighting, they were unable to contain the flames and the fire spread to nearly 50 acres. Fanned by shifting winds, the fire raced up a canyon and overwhelmed workers. Twenty-nine were killed.

Oakland Hills Fire, October 1991

Also called the Tunnel fire, the firestorm scorched hillsides in northern Oakland and southeastern Berkeley during an October weekend. The fire, rekindled from an earlier grass fire, burned only 1,600 acres — not large when compared to other wildfires on the list. But it was located in a densely populated area with houses and other buildings in its path. Fanned by powerful wind gusts, the flare-up grew into a wall of fire that left some residents trapped in an inferno that resulted in 25 deaths. Nearly 3,000 structures were destroyed.

Tubbs Fire, October 2017

The Tubbs fire part of a complex of wildfires known as the October Fire Siege in California's Wine Country. The fire, fanned by unrelenting winds in Sonoma and Napa counties, resulted in 21 deaths and destroyed 5,643 buildings, according to CAL FIRE.The fire started in the Calistoga area on the night of Oct. 8, spreading at a stunning rate and burning through entire neighborhoods, forcing some residents to run from their homes in search of shelter. The official cause remains under investigation.

Note: Taken as a whole, the 2017 North Bay fires death toll is 43. 

Cedar Fire, October 2003

The catastrophic San Diego County Cedar fire remains the largest fire in California history. It also is one of the deadliest. The 273,000-acre firestorm wiped out 2,820 structures and resulted in 15 deaths. The fire, started by a lost hunter who set a signal fire in Cleveland National Forest near Julian, stormed through wilderness areas and rural communities.

Rattlesnake Fire, July 1953

In the summer of 1953, an arsonist set two fires in Mendocino National Forest in Northern California, setting off a chain of tragic events that would become a textbook case in studies of firefighting. Firefighters quickly got a handle on the first, but spot fires developed during the evening when winds fanned the second fire. Most were extinguished, but one flared up and quickly spread as firefighters sat down for a meal. Some of them ran uphill to a firefighter who warned them about the fire, but 15 who tried to escape down the canyon were overtaken and killed. A boulder at the Grindstone Overlook on Forest Highway 7 has a plaque with the victims' names. 

Loop Fire, November 1966

On Nov. 1, 1966, 12 members of the El Cariso Hotshots -- specially trained firefighters who ranged in age from 18 to 26 -- were killed. Again, a firefight turned deadly because of shifting winds. Some crewmembers were trapped when gusts carried spot fire flames up steep Pacioma Canyon in Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles. Many of the 19 Hotshots who escaped suffered critical burns. El Cariso Park in Sylmar stands as a memorial to the victims.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Watch: Dec. 14 Thomas Fire Flare-Up]]>Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:05:04 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Raw_Aerial_Thomas_Fire_Flareup_Dec_14_1200x675_1116708419848.jpg

Burning for a 10th day in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the 242,000-acre Thomas fire flared up Thursday Dec. 14, 2017 in the Fillmore area. Thick smoke plumes could be seen from NewsChopper4 at mid-day. 

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<![CDATA[Send Us Your Wildfire Photos]]>Fri, 02 Jun 2017 04:43:42 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/e11c20dbfdd640ecb5761db0e9514911.jpg
View Full Story

Photo Credit: Angelo]]>
<![CDATA[California Wildfires: Prevention, Safety Tips]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 04:17:10 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07-24-2016-fire-sand-wildfire-clarita-1.JPG

Red flag warnings are issued in California when weather conditions increase the risk of wildfires, but there are fire prevention and home protection steps that can be taken well in advance of hot, dry and windy conditions.

Cal Fire, the state's firefighting agency, provided the following advice to help Californian's prevent a small spark from becoming a devastating wildfire. These safety tips, including how to prepare your property and family for wildfires, can save property and lives. 

Below, you'll find a printable evacuation plan and homeowner's checklist, emergency supply kit details and tips to reduce the risk of wildfires in the first place.

Before the Fire

When fires threaten homes, local fire and law enforcement agencies may order evacuations to save lives. That means residents should be prepared by following these pre-evacuation tips.

Protecting Your Home: Defensible Space

Cal Fire inspects homes in fire-prone areas for defensible space -- a barrier around the home designed to prevent fires from spreading to buildings. Defensible space is considered the area 100 feet around the home, divided into two zones.

  • Zone 1: This area extends to 30 feet from the home. It should be clear of dead plants, grass and weeds, dry leaves and pine needles. Tree branches should be 10 feet apart.
  • Zone 2: This area is 30 to 100 feet from the home. Grass should be kept to a maximum of 4 inches high. The lowest branches of trees should be trimmed to provide at least 6 feet of clearance from the ground to avoid a "fire ladder" that allows flames to spread up trees. 

When to Evacuate

When fire officials recommend evacuations, it's time to go. Remember that neighbors will be evacuating, too, so roads that firefighters use to do their jobs will likely be congested. A few things to keep in mind.

  • Authorities will outline evacuation routes after studying fire behavior, winds, terrain and the weather forecast
  • Law enforcement agencies, such as sheriff and police departments, are charged with enforcing evacuations. They also will provide updates on evacuations and shelter for evacuated residents
  • If it's too late to evacuate, fire officials suggest staying inside and calling 911. Fill sinks and tubs with water, close windows and doors, but make sure they're not locked in case rescuers need to enter the home

Wildfire Prevention

About 95 percent of California's wildfires are caused by people who fail to follow a few safety steps when using equipment outdoors, camping, burning debris and even driving a car.

Outdoor Equipment Use

Lawn mowers and other types of outdoor equipment need to be used with caution, especially during red flag conditions when a spark can quickly grow into a brush fire.

  • Mow before 10 a.m.
  • Avoid mowing when conditions are windy and dry
  • Watch for rocks and other objects than can generate sparks when struck by metal blades
  • Keep a phone nearby. If you need to call 911 to report a fire, do it right away

Vehicle Maintenance

Hundreds of brush fires start alongside California's roads each year. The cause is often sparks produced by a vehicle that land in dry brush on the roadside.

  • Don't let chains dangle from a vehicle and drag on the road. Safety pins should be used to keep chains in place
  • Check under your car to make sure no parts, such as the muffler or other parts of the exhaust system, are coming into contact with the road
  • Have a fire extinguisher in your car
  • Avoid driving onto dry grass, such as parking areas in fields and narrow shoulders on the side of the road. The brush can burn when ignited by a hot car part
  • Check your brakes. Worn pads can mean metal-to-metal contact, which can produce sparks that fly into dry brush on the side of the road

Camping

Campfires on public land require a permit from Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management.

  • Build the fire on level ground away from brush or anything else that could catch fire. You'll need at least 10 feet of diameter space
  • Make sure the fire is out using the "drown, stir and feel" method. Douse the fire with water, stir the area with a shovel and then put dirt on the site to smother coals and embers. Use the back of your hand to "feel" whether the area is still hot

Debris Burning Safety

It's best to check with the fire department before burning debris, which might require a permit.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[Raw Video: Thomas Fire Burns for Ninth Day]]>Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:55:56 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Web_Raw_Thomas_Fire_Dec_14_1200x675_1116546115620.jpg

Firefighters battled the Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for a ninth day Wednesday Dec. 13, 2017. 

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<![CDATA[Photos: Thomas Fire Burns in Ventura, Santa Barbara Counties]]>Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:36:58 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-891228964.jpgThe Thomas Fire that broke out near Santa Paula Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, had scorched more than 242,000 acres as of Thursday Dec. 14, 2017. The fire has burned more than 900 structures. It has forced more than 94,000 people from their homes and it continued to burn from Ventura County into Santa Barbara County.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Thomas Fire as Seen From Around Southern California]]>Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:48:22 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/169*120/11142d3af4af4fec89b18ecc2c5c7efe.jpgFanned by dangerous Santa Ana wind gusts, the fire has generated a towering smoke plume that can be seen from around Southern California. See images from around the region.

Photo Credit: Mark Alexander]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Crews Fully Contain Rye Fire]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:06:04 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/549809d80f6a4c45b40bf538a1aead9f.jpg

The Rye Fire, which destroyed at least six structures, damaged three more and consumed 6,049 acres near Santa Clarita was fully contained Wednesday.

The fire broke out at 9:30 a.m. last Tuesday near the 2500 block of Rye Canyon Loop.

Driven by gusty Santa Ana winds, the fire at one point threatened 5,460 structures and caused burn injuries to a firefighter, authorities said.

The firefighter, possibly an inmate, was airlifted to a burn center for treatment.

All evacuations and road closures issued as a result of the fire have been lifted, and the College of the Canyons evacuation site has been deactivated, officials said.

The fire's size originally was estimated at about 7,000 acres, but was downsized to 6,049 acres after precision mapping was conducted, Cal Fire reported.

The fire prompted the evacuation of about 5,000 people from about 1,300 homes and the closure of sections of the Golden State (5) Freeway and state Route 126.

Authorities reminded residents that the Disaster Distress Helpline, a 24- hour national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for those affected by the fires, is accessible at (800) 985-5990.



Photo Credit: Lee Alpert]]>
<![CDATA[LIST: Largest California Wildfires]]>Thu, 14 Dec 2017 07:14:14 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/186*120/90246169.jpg

The list below shows the locations of California's 10 largest wildfires.

Each fire includes the cause of the fire, date, location, acres burned, number of buildings damaged and fatalities. The data was compiled by Cal Fire and does not include fires before 1932, when less reliable records were available. 

The list includes all fires in California, regardless of whether they were under local, state or federal agencies' responsibility.

Note: The complex of deadly wilfires burning in Northern California are not included in this list. Taken as a whole, the October Fire Siege burned at least 245,000 acres in several counties.

1. Cedar

Cause: Human Related
Date: October 2003
Location: San Diego County
Acres: 273,246
Structures: 2,820
Fatalities: 15

2. Rush

Cause: Lightning
Date: August 2012
Location: Lassen County
Acres: 271,911 California/43,666 Nevada
Structures: None
Fatalities: None

3. Rim

Cause: Human Related
Date: August 2013
Location: Tuolumne County
Acres: 257,314
Structures: 112
Fatalities: None

4. Thomas

Cause: Undetermined
Date: December 2017
Location: Ventura, Santa Barbara counties
Acres: At least 242,000
Structures: At least 900
Fatalities: 1

5. Zaca

Cause: Human Related 
Date: July 2007 
Location: Santa Barbara County 
Acres: 240,207 
Structures: 1 
Fatalities: 0

6. Matilija

Cause: Undetermined
Date: September 1932
Location: Ventura County
Acres: 220,000
Structures: 0
Fatalities: 0

7. Witch

Cause: Powerlines
Date: October 2007
Location: San Diego County
Acres: 197,990
Structures: 1,650
Fatalities: 2

8. Klamath Theater Complex

Cause: Lightning
Date: June 2008
Location:Siskiyou County
Acres: 192,038
Structures: 0
Fatalities: 2

9. Marble Cone

Cause: Lightning
Date: July 1977
Location: Monterey County
Acres: 177,866
Structures: 0
Fatalities: 0

10. Laguna

Cause: Powerlines
Date: September 1970
Location: San Diego County
Acres: 175,425
Structures: 382
Fatalities: 5




Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Elderly Couple Loses Home in Fire]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:38:24 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/12-12-17-Thomas.JPG

It's tight quarters, but Ruth and Jack Forehand, their daughter Dawn and dog Bambi are grateful.

"I'm so thankful we're alive," Ruth said.

Their home of 40 years was one of the hundreds destroyed by the Thomas Fire.

"It's just hard to watch, hard to be happy," said Andrea Reynolds, a neighbor who helped the Forehands. "Your home is standing when you know how much people are suffering.

Through giving hearts, they stayed in a motel room, relying on donations.

But Reynolds says that's temporary and they'll need more help.

In order to help a family member, the 83 year olds signed over the deed to their home. Now, they have nothing left and nowhere to go.

Reynolds said they accepted a loan from a friend and trusted somebody they thought they would get their home back after they paid them back but they didn't.

They paid home insurance thinking it was their home but it isn't.

The displacement is especially hard for Jack. He's a Marine veteran and former reverend who suffers from dementia.

"He kept saying, 'Come on, I want to go home,' and I said, 'Jack, we don't have a home to go to anymore.'"

Reynolds wants to open up her home, but the neighborhoods nearby are still unsafe and still under a mandatory evacuation order. Crews are working on power lines, downed trees and other hazards. To help the Forehands go here.

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<![CDATA[Assistance Center Opens to Help Fire Victims]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 10:49:05 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-887284106.jpg

The city and county of Los Angeles will open a Local Assistance Center Tuesday in Lake View Terrace for people who have suffered negative impacts from the Creek, Rye and Skirball fires.

The center at 11075 Foothill Blvd. will be open Tuesday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., said Kathleen Hutton of the Los Angeles Fires Joint Information Center.

"The LAC is a one-stop shop where individuals, families and business owners impacted by the recent fires in Los Angeles County can obtain information on services and assistance from government agencies, utility companies and nonprofits," Hutton said.

Some of the services include:

  • animal services;
  • building permitting agencies;
  • crisis counseling/mental health;
  • county assessor and tax collector;
  • consumer and business affairs;
  • fire, forestry and public safety;
  • health and human services;
  • housing assistance;
  • insurance;
  • public health;
  • public works and sanitation agencies;
  • tax relief; and
  • veterans affairs.

There will be free parking. The facility is compliant with disabilities regulations, and translation services will be available on request, officials said.

County residents, renters and business owners, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, can call the toll- free 211 number for emergency preparedness information and other referral services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Time-Lapse Shows Rise and Collapse of Wildfire Smoke Plume]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:49:03 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Time_Lapse_Thomas_Fire_Plume_Wildfire_Smoke_1200x675_1114809923654.jpg

Video posted Tuesday Dec. 12, 2017 by the Ventura County Fire Department shows the dramatic rise and collapse of a wildfire smoke plume in Southern California. The Thomas Fire began Dec. 4, 2017 in Ventura County and burned more than 230,000 acres as it moved into Santa Barbara County. 

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<![CDATA[Neighbors Work Together, Save Dozens of Homes from Fire]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:41:28 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*152/three+muskateers.jpg

Three people are being credited with saving an entire neighborhood in the devastating Lilac Fire that destroyed more than 100 homes when it sparked Thursday.

Don Philippbar, his stepson Todd Smith and his neighbor Cathy Orchard will not be forgetting the Lilac Fire anytime soon. 

"It was pretty crazy, my heart’s beating right now just thinking about it," said Smith.

Instead of evacuating, the three saved their neighborhood.

"I was talking to Don and I said, 'God, I feel like the Three Musketeers out here,'" Orchard said with a laugh.

Together they ran from house to house putting out hot spots after a home nearby caught fire and sent embers flying into the sky.

One ember landed on their 80-year-old neighbor's back door.

"That was lit on fire so I took the garden hose, just hosing that thing down, and just kept hosing it down," said Philippbar. "And then I'm running down getting other spot fires on the next couple of houses."

They used garden hoses along with old hoses from when Orchard was a fire chief in Monterey Park.

Philippbar was also at one time a firefighter.

"I remember a friend of mine who's an attorney, he said, 'Why do you stay?'"  recalled Orchard. "And I said, 'Because I know what I'm doing.' I wouldn't go into court and pretend I'm a lawyer. So people shouldn't pretend they’re firefighters if they don't know what they're doing."

Even the ground next to the fire hydrant was burned to a crisp.

The three demonstrated the saying, "All for one, and one for all," and in the process, became heroes for their hometown. 

"I have no doubt that my house would've burned down if we weren't out here," Orchard said.

The three combined have dozens of years of both firefighting and military experience.  

]]>
<![CDATA[Smoke and Fire From Above: Wildfire Images From Space]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:45:46 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*121/12-15-2017-nasa-fire-space-thomas-1.jpgNASA is tracking wildfires globally, offering a view from high above Earth that reveals the scope and size of major fires, some of which produce smoke plumes that stretch for miles.]]><![CDATA[Woman Arrested for Looting Bonsall House During Lilac Fire]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 16:32:10 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/POLICE+LIGHTS+Connecticut.jpg

Sheriff’s deputies patrolling through Bonsall for looters taking advantage of the Lilac Fire arrested a woman for burglary in the 29000 block of Disney Lane Saturday afternoon.

A real estate agent called the deputies to report a suspicious person inside a house for sale around 12:45 p.m. 

After determining the suspect didn’t live there she was arrested for burglary (looting) during a state of emergency. She had entered the property, taken various household items and put them in her car.

The resident arrived at the home and confirmed the suspect did not belong there.

The suspect was later identified as Sacheen Silvercloud. Silvercloud was booked into the Vista Detention Facility.

Vista Station Detectives will be handling the follow-up investigation.



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<![CDATA[More Than 104 Homes Destroyed in Lilac Fire]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:19:16 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lilacroadfirevictim_2.jpg

San Diego County will waive permit fees for the rebuilding of more than 200 structures that have been destroyed or damaged in the Lilac Fire.

The County Board of Supervisors approved the waiver Monday after hearing the damage done by the 4,100-acre Lilac Fire. The supervisors also extended an emergency declaration. Get the latest updated information on the fire here.

San Diego County Disaster Recovery manager Amy Harbert reported that 104 residential and two commercial structures were destroyed along with 78 accessory structures such as barns, sheds and outbuildings.

An additional 13 homes and five commercial buildings were damaged.

The permit waiver will apply to structures within the fire's perimeter in unincorporated areas and any other areas in which county approval is needed. 

County public works employees were removing debris from county maintained roads and replacing damaged street signs. In the near future, they will be repairing guardrails and establishing erosion control in the burn areas.

Also, an estimated 200 acres of park land burned in the fire. No park structures have been affected, according to Harbert. 

A center has been set up to assist residents with questions and resources. The center is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Vista branch of the county library at 700 Eucalyptus Ave. Residents can call (858) 495-5200 for more information.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[At a Glance: Southern California Wildfires]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:23:39 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/thomas-fire-new-121117.png

Some Southern California wildfires that ravaged the region the previous week are reaching containment, allowing residents to return to their neighborhoods and begin the lengthy process of rebuilding.

While several blazes are at or near containment, the catastrophic Thomas Fire is still proving to be a force, burning hundreds of thousands of acres and forcing evacuations. 

Here are the statuses of each fire:

Thomas Fire

  • Acres Burned: 231,700
  • Containment: 20 percent
  • Location: Santa Barbara County, Ventura County
  • Date Began Burning: Monday, Dec. 4, 6:28 p.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 868

Lilac Fire

  • Acres Burned: 4,100
  • Containment: 80 percent
  • Location: San Diego County
  • Date Began Burning: Thursday, Dec. 7, at 11:15 a.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 182

Creek Fire

  • Acres Burned: 15,619
  • Containment: 98 percent
  • Location: San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles County
  • Date Began Burning: Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 3:44 a.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 63 homes, 60 outbuildings

Rye Fire

  • Acres Burned: 6,049
  • Containment: 93 percent
  • Location: West Valencia in Los Angeles County
  • Date Began Burning: Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 11:31 a.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 6

Liberty Fire

  • Acres Burned: 300
  • Containment: 100 percent
  • Location: Riverside County
  • Date Began Burning: Thursday, Dec. 7, 1:15 p.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 7

Skirball Fire

  • Acres Burned: 422 
  • Containment: 98 percent
  • Location: Brentwood area of Los Angeles County
  • Date Began Burning: Wednesday Dec. 6 at 4:52 a.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 6

See detailed information about Southern California wildfires here.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Dry Winds to Persist in SoCal's Fire Areas]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 14:28:20 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_17343113573902.jpg

Forecasters say gusty, dry Santa Ana winds will continue in Southern California for at least another day in areas where crews are battling wildfires, including one that is threatening a seaside city.

The National Weather Service has extended red flag warnings until Monday night for parts of Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Powerful gusts are expected through late Sunday in mountains of Santa Barbara County, where firefighters are protecting homes from flames moving down hillsides toward coastal neighborhoods.

New evacuations were ordered Sunday for the city of Carpinteria, which has been under threat for days from a huge and destructive wildfire that's still pushing west nearly a week after breaking out.

Crews have made progress on other fronts of that fire and on separate blazes in Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside counties.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Noah Berger]]>
<![CDATA[Lilac Fire 75 Percent Contained, 1,500 Structures Threatened]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 20:19:13 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lilac-Fire-20.JPG

All evacuation orders for the Lilac Fire were lifted Sunday after crews managed to etch fire lines around 75 percent of the blaze.

All roads were re-opened by about 4 p.m., including state Route 76, which was completely re-opened between Oceanside and Interstate 15.

Officials were still restricting access to two areas badly damaged by the fire: the Rancho Monserate Country Club in Fallbrook, as well as an area between 5200 Olive Hill Rd and 5800 Olive Hill Road in Fallbrook.

The number of firefighters and other personnel battling the Lilac Fire reached a peak of 1,409 today and officials at the central command center say they're likely to begin releasing crews from duty now that the fire has reached 75 percent containment.

The majority of those crews Sunday worked on strengthening containment lines and putting out hot spots. The fire has largely been contained on its east side near Interstate 15.

Their efforts today focused on clearing lines of brush to stop the fire in its tracks on its western side near Bonsall, officials said.

"The fire's looking really good, despite the wind," Cal Fire public information officer and Battalion Chief Henry Herrera said. "If we can get through today I think we'll be in pretty good shape for the remainder of this incident." 

Firefighters learned about their duties at a 7 a.m. briefing Sunday at Kit Carson Park in Escondido, where a miniature city has been set up with one purpose: To support everything needed to completely extinguish the Lilac Fire.

Meals, hoses, breathing masks, office supplies and medical care are all available at the camp.

The "trailer city" was set up shortly after the fire broke out, Herrera said. The blaze began at around 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, just west of I-15 and north of Lilac Road in Pala Mesa, amid gusty, arid winds.

The fire has held at 4,100 acres since Thursday night. It has destroyed at least 182 structures and damaged 23 others. Thousands of North County residents were forced to evacuate their homes after the blaze broke out.

At least 1,500 structures remain threatened, authorities said.

Santa Ana winds will gradually weaken this afternoon though humidity will remain very low, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency's red flag warning will be lifted at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Fire officials began setting up the command center after determining the blaze would need massive man power.

It's a joint command center, which means all decisions are made jointly by leaders from Cal Fire, the North County Fire District and the Vista and Oceanside fire departments.

Firefighters from those companies are joined by crews from across the west and as far away as Alaska.

They all speak the same firefighting language, Herrera said, which means once new crews arrive they can quickly learn about their assignments and get out in the field without having to learn local jargon.

Fire departments and other agencies from in and out-of-state brought with them 22 bulldozers, 163 engines, 24 water tankers and 14 helicopters.

The equipment not being used was lined up in parking lots at the Escondido park Sunday afternoon as the camp buzzed with activity preparing for firefighters' return home that evening.

Thousands of breakfasts and dinners are prepared by state prison inmates. Bagged lunches, including vegetarian options, are distributed to crews before they head out to fight the fire.

The meals clock in at about 2,000 calories each and are meant to sustain firefighters during the entirety of their grueling shifts, Herrera said.

Crews either sleep in hotels or pitch tents in one of the park's designated sleeping areas.

The camp's "Main Street'' consists of a row of trailers that serve every function. One houses the command bosses and another handles accounting for the incident. There's even one just for making copies of documents.

Herrera said that many of the firefighters expected to be released Sunday will be assigned to fight other blazes ravaging Southern California, such as the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, which is at 230,000 acres and growing.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Rye Fire 93 Percent Contained After Burning Over 6K Acres]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:39:53 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/171205-rye-fire-2.jpg

This article is no longer being updated. For the latest on the Rye Fire, click here

The Rye Fire in Santa Clarita has destroyed at least six structures and consumed 6,049 acres, authorities said Sunday.

The fire was 93 percent contained as of 7:00 p.m. Sunday. More than 700 firefighters have been battling the blaze since it started at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday near the 2500 block of Rye Canyon Loop.

Driven by gusty Santa Ana winds, the fire has threatened 5,460 structures and caused burn injuries to a firefighter, authorities said. The firefighter, possibly an inmate, was airlifted to a burn center for treatment.

A Red Flag Warning continued for Southern California through Sunday, officials said, and it could be extended to Monday.

All evacuations and road closures issued as a result of the fire have been lifted, and the College of the Canyons evacuation site has been deactivated, officials said.

The fire's size originally was estimated at about 7,000 acres, but has been downsized to 6,049 acres after precision mapping was conducted, Cal Fire said.

The fire prompted the evacuation of about 5,000 people from about 1,300 homes and the closure of sections of the Golden State (5) Freeway and state Route 126.

Authorities reminded residents that the Disaster Distress Helpline, a 24- hour national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for those affected by the fires, is accessible at (800) 985-5990.



Photo Credit: @kustoo]]>
<![CDATA[How to Help With Southern California Wildfire Relief Efforts]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 10:17:49 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/wildfire-church.jpg

Donations are needed after massive fires broke out in Southern California this week, forcing the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people and destroying hundreds of homes. 

Ventura County
The United Way of Ventura County is accepting donations via text and online. Text UWVC to 4144 or visit their website for the Thomas Fire Fund. One-hundred percent of donations will go to the fund.

The American Red Cross of Ventura County has set up three shelters in the area and are accepting donations. You can text REDCROSS to 90999, visit the redcross.org or call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to donate money.

For anyone wanting to donate food and water, The Salvation Army of Ventura County has announced they’re accepting donations for people affected by the fire.

The Humane Society of Ventura County says that financial donations are the best way that people could help and they can be made through their website. Representatives for HSVC said they have enough food and water for animals and people, but they need Alfalfa hay to feed horses, burrows and alpacas.

The Ventura County Fire Department’s Facebook page has also provided information for relief.

Los Angeles County
The Red Cross' Los Angeles chapter is providing information on its website about shelters available in the area.

Antelope Valley Fairgrounds is accepting animals in conjunction with LA County Animal Control. The facility is currently accepting donations of food and water and house animals from cats to exotic creatures.

San Diego County
San Diego County 2-1-1 said they needed volunteers at their call center, where people affected by the Lilac Fire fire were looking for resources and information. 

People can sign up to volunteer online or by calling 858-300-1269. 

The San Diego/Imperial County Red Cross (SDIC Red Cross) said the best way to help their organization is through cash donations. 

The San Diego County Humane Society said those who want to help can donate pet supplies and food by going to their Amazon wish list

The Del Mar Fairgrounds housing large animals said it could use donations of buckets, bedding, feed, shovels and rakes. 

You can also donate to a Crowdfunding site:
GoFundMe has set up a "Southern California Wildfire Relief" page with dozens of campaigns to help individuals and families.

YouCaring has also created a landing page for 2017 Southern California Wildfire Relief Fundraisers

Both sites rely on donor tips to defray costs. 

If you know of someone trying to help, send an email at tips@nbcla.com.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Thomas Fire Reaches Santa Barbara County, Burning 230K Acres]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:15:33 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/AP_17343859836213.jpg

This article was updated with the latest information at 8:55 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 10. The latest update can be found here

Scorching through Ventura County for a sixth day, the Thomas Fire reached Santa Barbara County on Sunday as officials ordered new mandatory evacuations.

Click here to see an interactive map of the evacuation zones. 

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for the following areas: 

City of Ventura

  • North of Foothill Road from Kimball Road west to Poli Street
  • North of Poli Street from Hall Canyon west to Cedar Street
  • Entire Community of Casitas Springs
  • North of Hwy 150 heading to Hwy 33 and south of Los Padres National Forest
  • City of Ojai and East Ojai Valley
  • SR 150 east of Dennison Park to Koenigstein Road, south of Reeves Road

Ojai

  • Unincorporated areas west of Rice Road
  • Los Encinos Road to Burnham Road south of SR 150 Upper Ojai Valley
  • Hwy 150 east of Reeves Road and unincorporated areas west of Rice Road
  • Upper Ojai Valley (West)
  • Hwy 33 north of Fairview Drive
  • Matilija Canyon

Unincorporated Ventura County Area

  • Residents and day visitors of Rose Valley
Ventura County North Coast Area
  • Boundary of Hwy 33 on the north to Casitas Vista Road, northwest to Hwy 150
  • Hwy 150 (Casitas Pass Road) west to US 101 and south on US 101 (including Pacific Coast Highway) to Emma Wood State Beach

Unincorporated area of Fillmore

  • The area of Hall Road to the west, Sespe Creek to the east, Fillmore City limits to the south, and Los Padres National Forest boundary to the north

Santa Barbara County

  • For the communities of Carpinteria, Montecito and Santa Barbara County from east at Mission Canyon Road to west from SR-150, and north of SR-192 to East Camino Cielo


Voluntary evacuation warnings are in effect for the following areas:

Santa Barbara County

  • The entire community of Carpinteria and Summerland is under voluntary evacuations from south of SR-192 to the Pacific Ocean.
  • The community of Montecito is under voluntary evacuations from between Highway 101 and SR-192.
Ventura County
Ojai
  • Casitas Pass Road east to Highway 33
  • Spring Street to Loma Drive. Includes Rice Road east to Loma Drive. Baldwin Road north to Besant Road

Unincorporated area of Fillmore

  • Sespe Creek to the west, Burson Ranch to the east, Fillmore City limits to the south, and Los Padres National Forest boundary to the north.


The destructive blaze has burned 230,000 acres along its path since it first started on Monday, Dec. 4.

The blaze was contained by 10 percent Sunday evening. It's destroyed 644 homes, damaged 165 homes, destroyed 15 commercial structures, destroyed 127 minor structures and damaged 19 other minor structures. The cost associated with the damage of the fire is an estimated $34 million, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Officials warned residents of active fire areas that strong Santa Ana winds, which have been fueling the Southern California wildfires, will remain through Sunday. Gusts are expected to blow from 30 to 50 mph, according to the VCFD.

Mandatory evacuations in the city of Santa Paula were lifted on Saturday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe account set up for the Forehands, you may do so here. Note that GoFundMe deducts 2.9 percent of all funds raised, plus 30 cents per donation, in the form of payment processing charges.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" dlang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://t.co/IPyzFMIDIn">pic.twitter.com/IPyzFMIDIn</a></p>&mdash; VCFD PIO (@VCFD_PIO) <a href="https://twitter.com/VCFD_PIO/status/939615758102904832?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 9, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></scrip



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Volunteers Need Supplies To Help Care For Animals At Del Mar Fairgrounds]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 04:52:12 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/dmhorsevolunteers.jpg

Several hundred horses, along with dog and cats, evacuated from the Lilac Fire in Bonsall and Fallbrook are now at taking shelter in Del Mar.

A parade of horse trailers arrived at the Del Mar Fairgrounds throughout Thursday and into Friday morning.

A lot of people showed up at the fairgrounds to help take care of the horses.

Veterinarians are also checking on the animals to make sure they’re in good health.

People donated feed, carrots and bales of hay.

Volunteers are also asking for more donations, including: cat litter, hoses, double snaps, coffee, rakes, hay nets, wheelbarrows, shovels, fruit, coffee and soda. 

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<![CDATA[Consumer Advice for Rebuilding After Fire Damage]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 22:02:09 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fire+Danger+House.JPG

Once the embers are cold and the threat of fire is gone, victims of the wildfires will start thinking about rebuilding. 

“It’s going to be a long, slow recovery process,” California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said. 

Jones said that starts by getting a complete copy of your homeowner’s policy to see what is in writing and how much your home and belongings are actually insured for. 

“What a lot of people don’t understand is that the market value of their home is different from the cost of replacing it,” Jones said. 

It’s recommended to get a bid or estimate from a contractor and then start the claims process. Don’t forget about things like temporary housing and meals, some insurance policies will reimburse you while your house is being repaired. 

“In the wake of a fire, costs can go up because of supply and demand,” Jone said. 

Other things to remember, always check a contractor’s license before signing a contract or giving any money upfront. To learn more about how to check a contractor’s state license, click here

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<![CDATA[Skirball Fire 85 Percent Contained, Some Evacuations Remain]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:22:33 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-887188462.jpg

This article is no longer being updated. For the latest information on the Skirball Fire, click here.

The five-day-old Skirball Fire in the Sepulveda Pass is now 85 percent contained and all evacuation orders have been lifted, fire officials said Sunday.

Containment lines around the 422-acre blaze had improved to 75 percent on Saturday, according to Margaret Stewart, spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Containment grew by 10 percent as of 4:30 p.m., Stewart said.

The fire started at 4:50 a.m. Wednesday on the east side of the San Diego (405) Freeway near Mulholland Drive.

It destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others, and at one time prompted the evacuation of about 700 homes and an apartment building. One firefighter suffered neck burns and was treated at a hospital, authorities said. Another firefighter suffered minor injuries.

The amount of acreage was adjusted downward from 475 acres due to more accurate mapping, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. The fire has been kept on the east side of the 405 Freeway.

Some evacuees were allowed to return home Friday. Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted Sunday afternoon for all areas affected by the Skirball fire, according to Stewart.

A stretch of Moraga Drive north of the security gate entrance is only open to residents. Stretches of Bellagio and Casino roads from Moraga Drive were also opened Friday.

Evacuation orders covered a 3.2-square-mile area bounded by Mulholland Drive to the north, Sunset Boulevard to the south, the San Diego Freeway to the west and Roscomare Road on the east.

The exception to the evacuation order was the Bel-Air Crest housing development, which was not threatened, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The Getty Center and the nearby Skirball Center, both on the west side of the freeway, reopened Friday.

Classes at UCLA, Cal State Northridge, Los Angeles Valley College and Santa Monica College resumed Friday after being canceled Thursday.

All Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley and some on the west side of Los Angeles -- a total of 265 district schools and charter schools -- were closed Thursday and Friday. They are expected to be open Monday.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District closed all of its schools Wednesday and Thursday. Schools in Santa Monica reopened Friday, but Malibu schools remained closed.

Malibu schools will be back in session Monday.

What sparked the Skirball Fire has not been determined.

The fire burned in the same general area as the devastating Bel-Air Fire of 1961. That blaze destroyed about 500 homes and led to various policy changes, including a prohibition on wood-shingle roofs and the strict requirement to clear brush around properties.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Deputies Find Box of Kittens in Rubble After Lilac Fire]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 21:07:26 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lilac+Fire+Kittens+Found.jpg

Deputies patrolling the rubble after the Lilac Fire ravaged parts of the North County made a heartwarming rescue.

A box of kittens was found Friday in the Bonsall area, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

The kittens were turned over to County Animal Services.

They are too young to be kept at a shelter and were handed over to a foster home, Dan DeSousa, with the County Animal Services Department, told NBC 7.

All three kittens are healthy.

At this time, they are is not looking for the people who left them behind.

"These people could have been running for their lives," said DeSousa.  "Or they could have not been home at the time."

The Lilac Fire sparked amid extreme fire weather conditions Thursday morning around 11: 20 a.m near the Interstate 15 and State Route 76 interchange in San Diego’s North County. By Thursday night, the fire had spread to 4,100 acres and was zero percent contained.

Friday evening, Cal Fire said the fire was 15 percent contained and holding at 4,100 acres. It destroyed 105 structures and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate their homes.



Photo Credit: SDSO]]>
<![CDATA[Creek Fire Progress Continues; Containment at 95 Percent]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:59:37 -0800https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/120917-creek-fire-4.jpg

This article is no longer being updated. For the latest information on the Creek Fire, click here.

The Creek Fire that has destroyed dozens of homes and burned more than 15,600 acres this week is 95 percent contained, authorities said Sunday.

The upgraded containment figure from 90 to 95 percent was reported as of 7 p.m., according to Cal Fire.

The wind-driven blaze broke out at 3:42 a.m. Tuesday. More than 1,700 firefighters on Saturday continued to patrol the area in Sylmar stricken by the fire and improve lines of cleared vegetation.

A Red Flag warning continues as of 8 p.m.

The fire has destroyed 60 homes and 63 outbuildings, damaged another 54 homes and 26 outbuildings, and scorched 15,619 acres, Cal Fire reported. Currently, 2,500 structures continue to be threatened.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries Tuesday.

On Friday, all evacuation orders were lifted at 6 p.m. and parking restrictions were lifted at 8 a.m. Evacuation orders first issued Tuesday affected about 150,000 households citywide, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said "thousands upon thousands of homes'' had been protected over the past few days.

All roads have reopened, except in the Santiago Estates mobile home park and Little Tujunga Canyon from the Middle Ranch equestrian facility to Live Oak Campground, which is only open to residents, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Virginia Padilla, whose family owns a ranch in Sylmar, told reporters the fire killed at least 30 of the ranch's horses.

Padilla said she and her family were able to get out of her home just in time Tuesday morning but were not able to take their horses with them.

All Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley and some on Los Angeles' Westside -- a total of 265 district schools and charter schools -- were closed Friday. They will re-open Monday, when the blaze is expected to be fully contained, Cal Fire said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>