Firefighters continue to battle four major South-land fires fueled by strong Santa Ana winds and among those lending support are two members of the South Pasadena Fire Department.
Captain Dan Dunn has been deployed to the Thomas Fire as part of a strike team and Engineer Mike Larkin is a fire line paramedic at the Creek Fire.
The pair of SPPD employees are among hundreds of officials attempting to contain the blazes as authorities say Red Flag warnings will be in effect for mountain and valley areas in both Ventura and Los Angeles counties through Saturday.
“As a result of a wet winter last year, the areas on fires now have a high amount of vegetation which has grown,” explained Captain Kris Saxon of the South Pasadena Fire Department. “That, along with the high winds, it’s really unimaginable that so many people are losing homes. It’s just devastating.”
Locally, Saxon said there have been “next to no winds” in South Pasadena over the past several days, leaving the city destruction free. “We’ve seen no wind damage, no power outages,” he explained. “There’s been nothing here related to the weather.”
On Thursday afternoon, South Pasadena fire officials surveyed the hill area of the city as they looked for trouble spots after high winds left plenty of other communities with down power lines and debris on streets.
“We’ve had some calls, so we’ll drive through the hill area to make sure everything is okay,” said Saxon.
The following are updates of area fires facing firefighters.
The Thomas fire in Ventura County, the largest of the four fires, started on Monday night as a 50-acre brush fire in foothills east of Santa Paula. The latest reports as of Thursday morning indicate it has grown to 96,000 acres. The fire was last reported to only be 5 percent contained.
The Skirball fire has burned approximately 475 acres but drew national prominence because it shutdown the 405 Freeway on Wednesday as a result to threatening nearby residential properties and the world famous Getty Center on the west side of Los Angeles. Officials are working long hours in keeping the fire from jumping the freeway and heading east and have managed to keep the blaze within containment lines.
More than 7,000 acres have been scorched in Santa Clarita, west of Valencia, as a result of the Rye fire.
As of Thursday morning, the fire was 10 percent contained, the highest percent of the four fires. Authorities say the fire is threatening many structures. About 775 firefighters were attacking the blaze on Thursday afternoon.
The Creek fire, in the Kagel Canyon area above Los Angeles’ Sylmar neighborhood, has destroyed 12,605 acres and taken more than 30 buildings in its path, according to authorities. The blaze was only 5 percent contained as of Thursday morning and 1,100 personnel are currently fighting the blaze.