The mayor of Thousand Oaks says that three-quarters of his city is under fire evacuation orders.
A wind-whipped fire raging through parts of Ventura and Los Angeles counties burned through 35,000 acres by Friday evening, engulfing scores of homes and other structures as weary fire crews scrambled to contain the damage and authorities urged tens of thousands of residents to flee the encroaching threat.
The Woolsey fire, which broke out near the former Rocketdyne site south of Simi Valley on Thursday, burned out of control through the day, with zero containment, and prompted wave after wave of evacuations from portions of Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Calabasas to the city of Malibu.
Broadcast reports showed flames engulfing hillsides, several homes and other structures as the fire marched toward the sea. Among the roads and highways snarled by traffic from evacuees was Pacific Coast Highway, which saw residents from Malibu head south toward safety.
At least 150 homes in Southern California were torched by the fire, The Associated Press reported, among them mansions in Malibu.
Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox said that threequarters of his city is under fire evacuation orders and that most likely includes people affected by the deadly bar shooting this week, AP also reported.
By early Friday evening, the flames had pushed into the San Fernando Valley, threatening the West Hills neighborhood, with evacuation orders put into place.
While the erratic winds began to subside as the day wore on, weather forecasters expected them to continue a few more days and even pick up in intensity. Another wind event is expected in the coming days, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said during
an afternoon news conference Friday in Thousand Oaks.
Once there is a lull in the winds, “then we can start getting a good anchor and foothold and attack this fire,” said Ventura County Fire Capt. Brian McGrath.
The number of people under evacuation orders was staggering: an estimated 250,000 people by Friday evening.
Among those fleeing the fire were a number of celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Scott Baio, Rainn Wilson and Guillermo del Toro. Some, like del Toro and Caitlyn Jenner, did not know the fate of their homes, but the wind-driven wildfire has destroyed the home of “Dr. Strange” director Scott Derrickson and the historic Paramount Ranch where shows like HBO’s “Westworld” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” were filmed, according to the AP.
The raging fire also sent plumes of billowing smoke high up into the sundrenched sky.
About 78,000 people were evacuated from Ventura County alone from more than 21,000 homes and businesses, according
to Ventura County sheriff’s officials.
“We notified everyone in Thousand Oaks from the Los Angeles County Line to Highway 23 south along Highway 101, Lake Sherwood, and all of the canyon areas to the beach,” said Sgt. Eric Buschow with the Ventura County Sherrif’s Office.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials told residents to evacuate from Hidden Hills, Malibu, Malibu Canyon area east to Topanga Canyon Road — including all areas south or west through the Ventura County coast.
Residents in unincorporated Monte Nido and Topanga Canyon were also asked to evacuate north toward the Chatsworth or San Fernando area.
By midafternoon Friday, the California Highway Patrol had converted all four lanes of the Pacific Coast Highway to one-way, southbound traffic from Malibu Canyon Road to the 10 Freeway in Santa Monica for those fleeing the fire in the Malibu area, officials said.
Some evacuees were seen at Zuma Beach with gas masks watching the Woolsey fire burn. Several llamas
evacuated from the fire were tied to a lifeguard tower at the beach.
Those evacuating were asked to bring their identification, their medicine and any important documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, along with supplies, a change of clothes and toiletries.
Evacuated residents in need of shelter were asked to go to Pierce College in Woodland Hills or Palisades Charter High School in Pacific Palisades, officials said. Taft High School in Woodland Hills was “currently full.”
Meanwhile, Ventura County Fire Department ordered a mandatory evacuation Friday for all residents and businesses along Wood Ranch Parkway, east to First Street and Long Canyon Road to Valley Gate Road.
Fire officials grappled to get some kind of containment amid high winds.
Another fire, the Hill fire, which started in Ventura County, had burned about 6,100 acres as of Friday morning and resulted in more than 17,000 people were ordered to leave.
Firefighters battle flames in the Oak Forest Mobile Estates area of Westlake Village on Friday afternoon.
Firefighters battling the Woolsey fire attempt to extinguish a blaze at a home on Canyon Ridge Drive in Westlake Village on Friday.