Malibu, the sun-kissed mecca for movie stars and surfers, was being menaced Thursday by the wildfires that have been ravaging Southern California for several days.
Some 200 firefighters were able to douse a blaze that erupted by a cluster of homes not far from Malibu High School, officials said.
But with tinder-dry conditions and powerful Santa Ana winds whipping through the mountains and canyons of northwest Los Angeles County, they remained ready for fresh conflagrations.
Meanwhile, just north in Ventura County, a blaze that has been dubbed the Thomas Fire and which first erupted near the town of Santa Paula, completed its westward march to the Pacific Ocean overnight, leaving in its wake 90,000 charred acres.
From artsy Ojai and Fillmore to the ocean-side city of Carpintiera, residents were ordered to evacuate as the flames devoured hundreds of homes and businesses in their path.
“It’s definitely moving,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Garo Kuredjian told the Los Angeles Times. “Forecasters were correct in terms of the wind forecast for tonight — it’s much windier than it was yesterday.”
Earlier, Los Angeles itself had to contend with a 450-acre blaze on Wednesday that burned several multimillion-dollar mansions in the tony Bel-Air neighborhood and threatened the Getty Center arts complex and its priceless collection.
The so-called Skirball fire forced officials to close down part of Interstate 405 — a key north-south artery and one of the busiest freeways in the country — for a time.
“These are days that break your heart, but these are also days that show the resilience of our city,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
Gov. Jerry Brown has already declared a state of emergency in Ventura,