California wildfires surpasses 100 square miles

Firefighters gather in front of a residential area as a wildfire burns along the 101 Freeway Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city’s foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes and other structures Tuesday and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)


VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on Southern California wildfires (all times local):

8:03 a.m.

The biggest and most destructive of several wildfires burning in Southern California has scorched more than 101 square miles.

State fire authorities say the fire burning in Ventura County about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles is also considered a threat to 12,000 structures Wednesday.

Dozens of homes have burned since the fire erupted Monday amid fierce Santa Ana winds.

A new fire burning among ridges and canyons on the west side of Los Angeles has also burned several homes while snarling morning commuter traffic.

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7:35 a.m.

Two homes are burning in a wildfire that has erupted in an exclusive ridge-top neighborhood in Los Angeles, the latest to hit fire-plagued Southern California.

The fire broke out before dawn Wednesday on the east side of Interstate 405 in the Sepulveda Pass and raced up steep slopes into neighborhoods at the top.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has deployed hundreds of firefighters and called in helicopters and airplanes.

Evacuations have been ordered and a wider area has been told to be ready for orders to leave.

It’s the same region of Los Angeles where hundreds of homes burned in the famous 1961 Bel Air Fire.

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6:52 a.m.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in an exclusive ridge-top neighborhood in Los Angeles as a dangerous new wildfire burns in Southern California.

The fire erupted before dawn Wednesday on the east side of Sepulveda Pass, which carries heavily traveled Interstate 405 through the Santa Monica Mountains on the city’s western side.

Helicopters are making water drops and more than 200 firefighters are battling flames close to homes.

In addition to the mandatory evacuations, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart says a wider area on the east side of the pass has been advised to get ready in case of evacuation orders.

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5:35 a.m.

A brush fire has erupted on the west side of Los Angeles along Interstate 405 in Sepulveda Pass.

Fire Department spokesman Margaret Stewart says the fire was reported at 4:52 a.m. Wednesday and is burning uphill, driven by topography rather than winds.

Stewart says 47 firefighters are on the scene, setting up protection for homes at the top of the steep slopes. Two firefighting helicopters have been assigned.

Sepulveda Pass carries heavily traveled Interstate 405 through the Santa Monica Mountains between the western neighborhoods of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley to the north.

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