California Wildfires Force More Evacuations

VOA - Thursday 7th December, 2017
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Schools were closed across Ventura County in Southern California as a wildfire continued to burn Wednesday, threatening 12,000 structures.

Dozens of homes have burned since the fire erupted Monday 60 miles (96 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Fire Department has deployed hundreds of firefighters and called in helicopters and airplanes to battle the blaze.

Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said Wednesday that if the Santa Ana winds died down, the department would 'get a handle' on containing the fires.

Firefighters battle to save one of many homes burning in the Creek Fire that broke out in the Kagel Canyon area in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, in Sylmar, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017.

Evacuations were ordered in the area and a wider area was told to be prepared to evacuate Wednesday, a day after California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Ventura County.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged residents to stay safe and heed calls to evacuate affected areas.

Fires are not uncommon in Southern California this time of year before the winter rains set in, when the vegetation is tinder-dry and winds blast the region.

2017 has been a particularly bad year for California fires. Just weeks ago, wildfires that broke out in Northern California killed 44 people and destroyed 8,900 homes and other buildings.

The burned remains of an automobile are seen at the Hawaiian Village apartments after a wind-driven wildfire swept into the city of Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday that wildfires had burned almost 1,550 square miles (more than 400,000 hectares) so far this year. The data do not take into account the fires currently burning.8203;