LOS ANGELES — As firefighters head into the third night of battling multiple wildfires across the state, official numbers indicate they have burned territory roughly the size of Atlanta.
The Thomas Fire in Ventura County alone, the largest so far this week, has scorched 65,000 acres of land, or roughly 82 square miles, and is inching closer into Santa Barbara County.
Combined with the Creek Fire in Sylmar, which is currently at 11,377 acres, the Rye Fire’s 7,000 acres in Santa Clarita, and the 475 acres burned by the Skirball Fire near the Getty Center, the toll stands at just under 84,000 acres, or 130 square miles.
Evacuations were lifted for the area around the Little Mountain Fire near California State University, San Bernardino Tuesday evening, but not before it had burned 100 acres.
At a press conference Wednesday, L.A. Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas warned the public of possibly dire fire conditions continuing through the week. He said the Brush Burning Index, the threat measure used by fire authorities, for Thursday was at 296.
“This is the highest number I’ve ever seen in my career,” Terrazas told reporters. He added that the threshold for the BBI was 165.
Weather Channel meteorologist Mark Thibodeau told KNX much of the devastation can be attributed to the lack of rain in California this year, which was just an average of one-tenth of an inch. On average, that number reaches 1.86 for the year.
Dry conditions make the climate more prone to Santa Ana winds, said Thibodeau.
Below are the latest updates on the fires currently burning in Southern California:
Name: Skirball Fire
Location: Sepulveda Pass (between Los Angeles Basin and San Fernando Valley)
Acres burned: 475
Containment: 5 percent
Structures destroyed or threatened: 4 homes destroyed, 11 others damaged
Evacuations: 46,000 residents
Name: Thomas Fire
Location: Ventura and Santa Paula
Acres burned: approx. 65,000
Containment: Zero percent
Structures destroyed or threatened: 150 homes destroyed; up to 12,000 more structures threatened
Evacuations: 27,000 homes evacuated
Name: Creek Fire
Acres burned: Over 14,000
Containment: 0 percent
Structures destroyed or threatened: 30 homes destroyed
Evacuations: Approx. 150,000 residents
Name: Rye Fire
Location: Santa Clarita
Acres burned: About 7,000
Containment: 5 percent
Structures destroyed or threatened: None
Evacuations: About 1,300 homes were evacuated