Fire and fear stretch across Southern California as wildfires roar through communities

Firefighters battled to put out a house on fire in the San Fernando valley north of Los Angeles

More than 125 firefighters have been on the scene, and water-dropping helicopters are reportedly being used to quench the flames.

Mr Murdoch, who owns British newspapers The Sun and The Times, lives in a mansion on his $30 million Moraga Vineyards estate, dubbed "the only commercial vineyard in Los Angeles".

No evacuation orders were officially in place, however residents should be prepared to get out quickly, Stewart said.

The Thomas Fire in Ventura County had burned 96,000 acres as of Thursday, making it twice as big as Washington, D.C., and almost three times bigger than the most destructive of the Napa-Sonoma fires. The effect of climate change on the Santa Ana winds remains uncertain, though a 2006 study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters suggested that warming could shift the winds' season leading to larger areas burned by fires.

Officials spoke bluntly about the danger that remained through the week's end, with "red flag" warnings of heightened fire risk extending through Saturday. Cal Fire investigators are exploring whether PG&E's lines sparked any of the fires that tore through the North Bay in October, killing 44 people.

The blaze, which was reported at 4:52 a.m. Wednesday on the east side of the San Diego (405) Freeway near Mulholland Drive and prompted a morning rush hour closure of the freeway in the Sepulveda Pass, was estimated to have scorched at least 475 acres, Hogan said.

"It's critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so".

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Further to the north, in Ventura County, an even bigger blaze, the "Thomas" fire, was raging and threatening several coastal and inland towns. They were taking a break after battling fires in nearby Ojai the night before, winds whipping in off of the ocean as they rested.

Police knocked on doors and used loudspeakers to make sure everybody had left their homes.

Among those evacuated was model Chrissy Teigen, wife of singer John Legend.

"We are fine and we will be fine".

The Getty - home to masterpieces including works by Monet and Rembrandt - was closed. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

More than 1,770 firefighters and police officers were waging war with the fire in Ventura County, according to the latest incident report.

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