The Los Angeles Fire Department uses a Burning Index rating to determine the level of fire danger/threat to the area. The blaze is 20 percent contained around 475 acres with flare ups in the Bel-Air Crest area. Residents in Sullivan Canyon and Mandeville Canyon were told to be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice.
"I packed the important things".
There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading.
The fire has been growing because of dry and windy conditions, which have spread hot embers across the area. UCLA announced classes were voluntary Wednesday and urged all faculty and students living off-campus to stay home.
"Today was scariest morning commute of my life", tweeted musician Rick Patrick.
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over the area Tuesday, announcing: "This fire is very risky and spreading rapidly". On Wednesday, it reported the Ventura County fire consumed 50,500 acres and forced up to 50,000 people to flee their homes. The blaze has now grown to 150 acres. Strong winds helped push the fire uphill, putting homes and residents in danger.
The fire, which was entirely uncontained, was being whipped by unpredictable Santa Ana winds, which blow in from the California desert. "The wind is going to increase that twofold".
"These are days that break your heart", Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, according to the New York Times. "Be ready to go at nearly a moment's notice", L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz had said at a press conference the previous day.