Firefighters across Southern California are battling four major wildfires, and brutal Santa Ana winds are expected to continue fanning the flames into Thursday.
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The weather is not cooperating with the hundreds of officials trying to contain the flames in the region. Red flag warnings have been extended across much of Southern California through Saturday, while high winds warnings are in effect for mountains and valleys in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Sustained winds were gusting to 66 mph at Boney Mountain in Ventura County, according to the National Weather Service. Winds could gust to 80 mph in the early hours of Thursday, causing embers to spread even more. Much of Southern California is also experiencing humidity levels in the teens or even single digits.
More than 5,000 firefighters are dealing with the four large wildfires, as well as a smaller one in San Bernardino, which is entirely contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The Thomas fire, which was the first to ignite, has already burned about 96,000 acres of land and is expected to intensify due to the increasing winds. The Skirball fire is the smallest of the wildfires currently, but its threat to heavily populated areas of Los Angeles has drawn widespread attention. The Creek fire and Rye fire also continued to burn Thursday with little containment.
All Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley, as well as 17 schools on Los Angeles’ west side, were shuttered through Friday. At least 265 schools have been closed. The University of California, Los Angeles, also canceled classes…