Southern California utility may shut down power lines to prevent fires

The Skirball fire prompted a full closure of the 405 Freeway and mandatory evacuations

The Skirball fire prompted a full closure of the 405 Freeway and mandatory evacuations

The University of California, Los Angeles, also canceled classes Thursday due to the Skirball fire.

The warning, which indicates extreme fire danger because of gusty winds and low humidity, will be in effect through Saturday in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, where fires have scorched more than 80,000 acres and destroyed many homes.

Firefighters were also on the scene of the Rye fire - which had grown to 7,000 acres in the Santa Clarita area - as well as the Creek fire north of downtown Los Angeles that had grown to more than 11,000 acres. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 "to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region", but as of now, the art inside is staying put. Officials were focused on keeping the fire from jumping the freeway and heading east.

There were 50,000 people under mandatory evacuation orders, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. That means they need new legions of firefighters to try to get them under control.

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"My son went out, came in, and said, 'Mom, you gotta see this, '" she said.

"They gave us about 30 minutes to evacuate, so I just took my clothes", said Monica Campo, 27, who lives in the Sylmar area.

"These are days that break your heart; but these are also days that show the resilience of our city, " Garcetti said.

"We stand a good chance of a challenging night and day tomorrow", Cal Fire spokesman Tim Chavez said, adding that there's potential for fire growth on the northwest side and a high probability of spot fires.

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The Getty Center said on Twitter that its galleries are protected from the smoke by an air filtration system. The winds died down overnight, and that helped keep the fire from spreading, Los Angeles Fire Department Assistant Chief Armando Hogan said. In the wake of that blaze brush clearing was required and water pressure was increased, he said. "Right now we're experiencing favorable wind conditions. but we are anticipating a continuation of the red flag conditions throughout the week, at least until Friday".

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said the "erratic and unpredictable" wind gusts will continue through Saturday, warning that the winds could whip through with speeds as high as 50 to 70 miles per hour.

At the Ventura County Fairgrounds, over 100 fire trucks from several states had parked on Thursday, firefighters standing or sitting outside their trucks. One firefighter was injured but has since been released from the hospital, officials said.

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