The fifth California wildfire this week left the hillside next to the road ablaze. Drivers in Los Angeles were faced with terrifying scenes along a major freeway.
The inferno named the “Skirball Fire” has already consumed more than 50 acres of land and threatens LA’s exclusive Bel Air neighborhood, UCLA and the Getty Center For The Arts alongside the I-405 freeway.
While 125 firefighters and several helicopters attempt to get the blaze under control, the freeway has been shut down. Early-morning commuters managed to capture this stunning footage as they traveled past the ferocious fire, their cars were just feet away from the deadly flames.
Several people shared the surreal moment on social media.
‘Not the typical morning commute…’ one driver tweeted dryly.
On Wednesday along Interstate 405 in Sepulveda Pass, which carries the heavily traveled highway between LA and the San Fernando Valley, the Skirball Fire was spotted at 4:52 am.
Traffic was already flowing through Sepulveda Pass when commuters noticed a glow around the Getty Center. The fast-moving brush fire spread rapidly up the hills on the east side of the 405, moving toward homes in Bel Air, the Getty, and UCLA.
The road was closed down in both directions, and Bel Air evacuated. Several homes in the famous neighborhood were catching fire.
Early Wednesday, winds were dying down but were expected to pick up speeds in the evening, perhaps up to 50mph, causing the fire to spread further.
The Skirball Fire is just one of five blazes now burning in Southern California. Following the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, the Rye Fire near Santa Clarita, the Creek Fire near Sylmar and the Little Mountain Fire near San Bernardino.
The TV shows Westworld and SWAT were postponed, as producers recalled cast and crew amid fears that they might be put at risk by the largely uncontrollable blazes, as the countryside became swathed in choking smoke.
HBO said in a statement that “Westworld was filming its second season in an area near two Los Angeles County fires on Tuesday” but producers decided to shut down and avoid any danger to actors or crew members. The show would resume filming when conditions there are safe.
Filming on SWAT was also suspended but it is unclear when producers hope to get their cast and crew back to work.
The Thomas fire is threatening Johnny Cash’s former home in Casitas Springs, among other famous homes. The country musician moved to the hilltop house in the 1960s, and as of Tuesday evening, it was surrounded by a literal ring of fire. It is not yet known whether the building was damaged.
Donald Trump, late Wednesday morning, retweeted a FEMA announcement that it was providing grants for the first three blazes – the Thomas, Rye and Creek fires.
He added: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the path of California’s wildfires. I encourage everyone to heed the advice and orders of local and state officials. THANK YOU to all First Responders for your incredible work!’
It is unknown what sparked the San Bernardino fire, the fourth of the five fires, but two people were found badly burned near its point of origin close to a McDonald’s restaurant.
As Tuesday, fire officials said it had damaged some garages, but no houses had burned, and hundreds of homes and businesses had been saved.
That stands in contrast to the four other fires. They have consumed hillsides, homes, and streets throughout a swathe of Southern California. One fire devoured 30 miles of land between its origin point and the Ocean in just one day.
The NFL Los Angeles Rams hold workouts near the largest of Southern California’s fires, canceled Wednesday’s practice.
Sixty-five miles northwest of LA, the residents of a mobile home park in Casitas Springs, were working together to keep it from burning. They doused their homes and fences with water and built mounds of dirt to keep the flames at bay.
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