Calif. wildfire does 180
A firefighter keeps watch as the wildfire burns along a hillside in Point Mugu , Calif. Friday, May 3, 2013. Firefighters got a break as gusty winds turned into breezes, but temperatures remained high and humidity levels are expected to soar as cool air moved in from the ocean and the Santa Ana winds retreated. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Photo by AP
LOS ANGELES — A wildfire outside of Los Angeles made a harrowing about-face on Friday when a shift in winds sent the blaze roaring inland, putting homes that had escaped the first wave of flames again in the fire's path.
Officials said flames crept within 100 feet of homes in Hidden Valley, a small community located north of Los Angeles in the mountains outside Thousand Oaks, as the 10,000 acre fire continued to scorch the rugged terrain between Pacific Coast Highway and the 101 Freeway.
More than 1,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft flying through thick smoke to drop water and flame retardant.
Residents in Hidden Valley, which includes luxury ranches owned by Tom Selleck and Ellen Degeneres, have been ordered to evacuate.
Sue Martin and Coleman Trainor thought the danger had passed, but then they noticed the winds change. When the neighboring ranch began evacuating animals about 2 p.m., they decided they should start to make plans for the 20 horses stabled on their own property.
Laurie Deremer, 58, looked at the flames and smoke peeking over the ridge. “Well, this looks a little ominous here,” she said.
As many as 4,000 homes and 300 commercial properties have been threatened, with 15 residences, 15 outbuildings and five commercial properties damaged.
The fire was 20 miles west of Malibu, burning mostly in rugged mountains. Earlier, it jumped the Pacific Coast Highway at Point Mugu and burned on a beach shooting range of Naval Base Ventura County.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Los Angeles, firefighters were getting a handle on a brushfire that broke out in the hills of Glendale, prompting the evacuation of nearly 3,000 homes and a freeway closure.
City Fire Chief Harold Scoggins told KNBC-TV the fire erupted north of the Glendale Freeway, just after 2 p.m. and spread across the freeway and uphill.
And a 2-acre brush fire was threatening homes in the San Gabriel Valley suburb of Walnut, just west of Diamond Bar, officials said. “It is very close to homes at this point,” said Los Angeles County fire inspector Quvondo Johnson. “It started in the brush, but it's close to homes.”
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