Local emergency officials warned of powerful winds on Thursday that will feed wildfires raging in Los Angeles, threatening multimillion dollar mansions with blazes that have already forced more than 200,000 people to flee.
Authorities issued a “purple” alert – never used before, because of the extreme danger, warning that winds could reach 128 kilometers an hour, severely limiting firefighting efforts.
“As expected winds have increased dramatically,” Cal Fire, the agency responsible for fire protection in the state, said on Twitter. “Stay alert and prepared in case of evacuations. If you feel unsafe, evacuate.”
The flames have swallowed about 32,000 hectares in just over a day since the “Thomas” fire, currently the state’s largest, broke out, leaving at least one person dead in an area about 45 minutes’ drive from downtown LA.
High winds caused another wave of wildfires to erupt on Tuesday night, including one in Los Angeles’ affluent Bel-Air neighborhood.