OAK PARK (CBSLA)- The Woolsey fire that began on Thursday afternoon in the Rocketdyne area of Simi Valley has progressed across the 101 freeway near Calabasas prompting the evacuation of 75,000 homes in Ventura and L.A. counties.
CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen was on the scene in Oak Park early Friday morning as the fire overtook homes at the corner of Kellwood Ct. and Churchwood Drive. The fire, which has been growing rapidly since it broke out on Thursday afternoon, has been spurred on by strong winds in the area.
“You can hear the winds roaring through here right now,” said Nguyen. “You can see how these palm trees are swaying and the wind is whipping through here.”
Those winds have allowed the fire to spread from home to home leaving little more than rubble in its wake. In addition to the direct damage that the fire itself is causing to homes in the area, the heat given off by it has also caused problems. Firefighters are doing all they can to corral the fire from spreading to more homes, but as Nguyen notes, all they could do is react to what the fire was doing due to the conditions.
“They are basically in defensive mode right now,” said Nguyen. “You can hear some of the engines hear and get a sense of what’s going on. There are just a number of water hoses being poured onto this house. At this point, you know that this house is not livable anymore so what they’re trying to do is contain the flames here. The last thing you want to do is have them continually jump from one house to the next. That is exactly what has been happening right now.”
The attempt to corral the fires is obviously important because as Nguyen states in his report, the embers from the fire are particularly dangerous due to the great distances they can travel.
“You can see some of the embers flying up into the air and that’s what makes these fires so dangerous,” said Nguyen. “Because when the wind goes through here even though you have these streams of water being used to try and douse these homes you can see all of the embers shooting into the air.”
The fire has continued to spread through the area, CBS2’s Tom Wait was on scene in the same area when a house collapsed due to the damage caused by the fire. Stay tuned to CBS 2 for more updates as the story continues.