Wildfires destroy at least 30 homes in Los Angeles County

An example of firefighters at work

The latest fire, dubbed the Skirball Fire, broke out just before 5 a.m. Wednesday and, driven by 25 miles per hour winds, crackled uphill in a southerly direction next to Interstate 405 where it intersects with Mulholland Drive in Bel-Air. One of many dramatic videos uploaded by commuters passing the fire in the early morning hours ominously captures the highway exit sign for Getty Center Drive against a backdrop of a hillside blanketed in flames.

LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said the drones will be used "for the first time ever", primarily to conduct property assessment as the agency surveys damage caused by the Creek Fire near Sylmar and the Skirball Fire in the Bel Air and Sepulveda Pass.

Los Angeles firefighters have been deployed since Sunday, Terrazas said, in preparation for a period of critical fire weather.

Around 5 a.m. we learned reports of a 10-acre fire burning near the Getty Museum.

Still, Hartwig said the art complex's plan has always been to keep the artwork in place in case of fire. "We're doing everything we can now to maintain public safety".

The Getty Center and the nearby Skirball Center, both on the west side of the freeway, did not appear to be threatened, though both remained closed Thursday.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency while 11 Los Angeles Unified schools canceled Wednesday classes. The fire is not contained in the slightest.

The Creek Fire bore down on the family ranch, leaving them little time to evacuate.

Hartwig, who was on site on Wednesday along with about 100 essential staff members, said he was still concerned that heavy winds might blow across the highway toward the Getty.

Huge, fast-spreading wildfires in southern California have already destroyed at least 200 homes.

"I suppose that's good news we don't have anybody", said Kirstin Zullo, the shelter coordinator at the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center in West Los Angeles. "Our air filtration system is very sophisticated: It basically reverses, so that air is pushed out rather than in and smoke is not able to get into the galleries to damage the collection in any way".

Forecasters are calling for another afternoon of gusty winds, which will help fuel the fires on Wednesday.

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