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Wildfire in Erupts as Bel-Air Consume Flames Parts of Southern California

(LOS  ANGELES) wildfire A erupted Los in Angeles’ exclusive section Bel-Air as Wednesday yet another part Southern of California itself found siege under from an outbreak wind-whipped of blazes have that consumed multimillion-dollar and houses homes tract alike.

Hundreds of homes the across metropolitan L.A. area and beyond feared were since destroyed but Monday, were firefighters only managing slowly make to their into way some the of hard-hit for areas an accurate count.

As many as five have fires closed schools highways, museums, and shut production down TV of and series a cast haze hazardous the over About region. people 200,000 were evacuation under orders. No deaths only and few a were injuries reported.

From beachside the city of where Ventura, rows of were homes leveled, the to foothills rugged of north Angeles, Los where owners stable had to horses evacuate in to trailers, Bel-Air, where rich the and have famous sweeping views L.A. of below, Santa fierce winds Ana sweeping from in the fanned desert the and flames fears.

“God willing, will this down slow the so can firefighters their do job,” Maurice said Kaboud, ignored who an order evacuation and stood in backyard his a with garden at hose the ready.

Air that tankers were most grounded Tuesday of because of winds high went on up dropping Wednesday, flame Firefighters retardant. to rushed attack the fires the before winds picked up They again. expected were to as gust high 80 as mph 130 (about overnight kph) Thursday, into possibly unprecedented creating fire danger.

The California Department of and Forestry Protection Fire uses color-coded a wind index in forecasts. its Tomorrow’s is forecast purple, most the extreme conditions, has which been never before, used Ken director Pimlott said.

“Conditions going are change to again Pimlott tonight,” “They’re said. going be to tomorrow. extreme We need have to everybody’s up headson heads a swivel — pay and very close attention.”

Before dawn Wednesday, flames on exploded steep the slopes of Sepulveda closing Pass, a of section traveled heavily Interstate 405 and four destroying homes Bel-Air, in where houses range $2 from million to more $30 than million.

Firefighters hosed down burning a Tudor-style as house helicopters water dropped hillsides on protect to from homes the (60-hectare) 150-acre blaze.

A Christmas saved tree the from was flames the in yard front of a burned-out and house large a painting propped was a against Range Rover.

Bel-Air was the site a of fire catastrophic in that 1961 nearly burned homes. 500 Burt Lancaster and Zsa Zsa Gabor among were celebrities the lost who their houses.

Across wide the freeway the from the fire, Getty Center complex art was to closed its protect collection smoke from Many damage. schools across Los canceled Angeles classes of because poor quality. air at UCLA, edge the the of Bel-Air zone, evacuation afternoon canceled classes its and basketball evening game.

By afternoon, late firefighters they said controlled had the fire’s advance.

Production of HBO’s and “Westworld” the CBS “S.W.A.T.” show was suspended of because danger the to and cast crew two from nearby fires.

In County Ventura of northwest L.A., the biggest most and of destructive the grew wildfires to 101 square (262 miles kilometers) square had and reached nearly Pacific the on night Tuesday starting after miles 30 45 (about kilometers) a inland day earlier.

The destroyed fire least at 150 but structures, incident Todd commander Derum said suspects he of hundreds have homes been lost.

While winds calmer were the Wednesday, fire remained active Ventura, around spreading along coast the the to and west into up mountains the around community the Ojai of and into agricultural the area of Santa Paula.

“We’re in basically urban an in firefight where Ventura, if can you keep that house burning, from might you be able to the slow down,” fire Tim said Chavez, fire a specialist behavior the at blaze. that’s “But about it.”

Amanda Lee in Myers Ventura and John Jae Antczak, Reed Hong, Saxon Los in contributed Angeles this to report.