Fires rage in southern California

Wildfires raging in southern California destroy over 300 buildings, force 200,000 to evacuate area.

Chana Roberts ,

Area of the fire
Area of the fire

Fires in southern California have caused thousands to evacuate their homes.

The "Skirball fire" destroyed homes in Los Angeles' Bel-Air neighborhood, spreading over 475 acres. A larger fire nicknamed "Thomas" has already spread over 90,000 acres. The "Creek" fire destroyed 12,600 acres, but just four buildings.

The Skirball fire erupted near the UCLA campus and Getty Museum, reaching the edges of the 405 freeway.

Both Bel-Air and Ventura have declared a local state of emergency.

Over 300 buildings have been destroyed, with over 200,000 people evacuated.

According to the California fire services on Wednesday night, 12,000 buildings were threatened, 150 were destroyed, and the fire was only 5% contained. Due to the strong winds, California's head of fire response said there was "no ability" to fight the fires and evacuations would be prioritized instead.

Meanwhile, authorities issued a warning of "extremely critical fire weather." Winds are expected to gain strength, with gusts up to 80 miles (128.7 kilometers) per hour, and humidity will be less than 10%. Red flag warnings are expected to be in effect through Saturday night.

At least 41 people died in California in similar wildfires in October, when fires burned over 217,000 acres and destroyed more than 5,700 homes and other structures. Damage estimates have topped $3 billion.