Firefighter Hurt As Crews Make Progress In Skirball Fire

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A fast-moving brush fire that broke out early this morning in the Kagel Canyon area above Sylmar has charred about 4,000 acres, burning structures and forcing mandatory evacuations.

A few factors have contributed to the fires spreading so quickly, the biggest of which grew to almost 80-square-miles in just a few hours.

A SigAlert was expanded at 6:45 a.m., shutting down the freeway in both directions from the 10 Freeway to the 101 Freeway, the CHP stated. Reports indicated that at least one home had been damaged but firefighters told reporters at the scene that four or five others had also caught fire.

That fire has now reached 96,000 acres, and officials fear the worst wind day so far this week in Southern California as the region battles major brushfires, scorching nearly 120,000 acres altogether.

Other agencies assisting include the U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles County Fire Department and Cal Fire.

The wildfire has reportedly reached about 50 acres in size and is still growing, fueled by 25-mph winds. All evacuations remained in place Thursday, covering a large area bounded by Mulholland Drive to the north, Sunset Boulevard to the south, the 405 to the west and Roscomare Road on the east. In addition to the Bel-Air fire, the Ventura County fire has forced at least 50,000 people to evacuate.

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The fire prompted a mass evacuation of the upscale neighborhood and closed the 405 Freeway for several hours. The 405 Freeway, a major commuting highway, also has been closed.

The Conejo Valley Unified School District is closing all schools.

"This fire is very risky and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got", Brown said.

"We expect to be out here all week fighting and containing this fire", said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Santa Monica-Malibu schools are all closed, in addition to most private schools in the area such as John Thomas Dye and Buckley.

The 50 miles per hour winds not only helped spread the fire but they also grounded air tankers.

Few evacuees could be found Wednesday in designated shelters at the Cheviot Hills, Westwood and Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks recreation centers, where Red Cross volunteers had food ready, but no takers.

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