Early Tuesday's focus was on the destruction in Ventura County when a small fire was ignited in Angeles National Forest near Sylmar.
In one hour, the fire was out of control, closing highways, destroying houses, forcing thousands to evacuate and send suffocating smoke into the inner valleys.
The Creek Fire was one of several stubborn fires that erupted during what forecasters said were Santa Ana's strongest winds in a decade. Conditions were ripe for the fires, and Los Angeles County got several, including one near Magic Mountain that forced the closure of Interstate 5 and another along Highway 118 at Porter Ranch.
The fires could offer a preview of the next few days, which are expected to bring even stronger winds until Thursday.
"In general, today is very hot, tomorrow and Thursday," said National Meteorological Service forecaster Ryan Kittell. "Thursday seems potentially the worst … We're still going to have the winds, the dry relative humidity and maybe 1
Authorities are preparing for more fires and urging residents to do the same.
This will not be the only fire, "Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said." We will have difficulty gathering all the resources throughout the city and Los Angeles County due to this weather event. "
The worst of LA County's wildfires burned at the foot of the Los Angeles National Forest on top of Sylmar and Lake View Terrace, destroying at least 30 homes, injuring two firefighters and burning 11,000 acres.
The uncontrolled fire of Creek erupted at Little Tujunga Canyon Road around 4 am and grew so fast that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency as 110,000 to 150,000 people were forced to leave their homes More than 20 square miles of residential properties were evacuated.
Fourteen Los Angeles Unified School District schools will be closed on Wednesday due to the Creek fire.
"We want to be very clear with people. We have lost structures, we have not lost lives. Do not wait, leave your homes, "said Garcetti." We are making a precautionary mistake for those evacuations because this wind could take a different direction. We just do not know what this fire will do. "
Around 4 am on Tuesday, a neighbor woke up Wood Grigsby, who has lived in Upper Kagel Canyon for 12 years.
" I went out, and we were Surrounded almost by Everywhere by the fire, "said Grigsby.
He said that his house is well defended against fire: he cleans the brush, has gravel and there is not much to burn near him, but he and his son took furniture from the porch and they took shovels to put out small fires that burned in the grass and fields of their neighbor's house.
His neighbor's house, about 180 feet from the mountain, burned, which "When the fire department got there , was completely engulfed in flames, "he said." The wind would change … and when it did, a lot of embers would explode in the air. It is very dramatic to look in the dark to see those embers coming in a tornado-like manner and simply fall on all my property. "
He and his son stayed outside for about three hours taking out embers and making sure they did not. Set fires on their property or on the neighbors' lots.
" The fire department was just stretched so thin. When you have a big fire like this, there's a lot we can do. So my son and I were outside with our small shovels, helping as much as we could, "he said.
Grigsby said he had no knowledge of any mandatory evacuation, the fire department visited them, he said, and told him to have
Many evacuated families took refuge in the Sylmar Recreation Center, where 30 or 50 people had gathered before noon on Tuesday.
Scott Wells sat with his wife and son in the downtown gym, between basketball hoops, waiting to know when he could go home Wells woke up in the pre-dawn hours at his house in the upper Kagel Canyon and smelled the smoke.When he looked outside, there were bushes burning all over. , Patricia Beckmann Wells, and they both started putting out fires.
"It was pretty scary," Wells said. "He was all around us."
When his 5-year-old son, Petey, woke up and smelled hum or, "It got scared a little," Wells said. "But we convinced him … And then he was fine."
The authorities arrived later and asked them to evacuate. "There were houses on fire," Wells said.
He said that they have been monitoring a Facebook group for the cannon and they have been told that their house is fine. But at least two houses that they know are gone, and they've heard of more.
In Santa Clarita, the Rye fire burned 5,000 acres, forcing thousands to flee their homes when a huge cloud of smoke rose over the area. Interstate 5 was temporarily closed, blocking traffic on the north-south key route for hours.
In San Bernardino County, three people suffered burns because the rapid fire in Little Mountain forced residents to leave their homes. The evacuation orders were lifted late in the day.
All the fires caused smoked air and ash in the region.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District warned residents in the San Fernando Valley and stay indoors and avoid areas with visible smoke due to unhealthy air quality.
"It is difficult to know where the ashes or the soot of the fire will go, or how the winds will affect the level of dust particles in the air, so ask all the people who are aware of their immediate surroundings and who take measures to safeguard your health, "Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, interim health officer for Los Angeles County, said in a statement. "Smoke and ash can be harmful to health, especially in vulnerable people, such as the elderly, people with asthma or people with other respiratory and heart conditions."