California's newest wildfire tore through retirement communities built on golf courses and killed elite thoroughbred horses in its first destructive day. The new blaze, in San Diego County, means a huge swath of Southern California is now in flames. December's shockingly dry, hot and windy conditions brought on unprecedented fire danger.
The San Diego-area fire quickly grew to more than 6 square miles and burned dozens of homes at Rancho Monserate Country Club. Flames engulfed a horse training center, prompting trainers to unlock stables and encourage hundreds of race horses to run for their lives. It's not clear how many died.
The destructive blaze broke out as firefighters tried to corral the largest fire in the state, which was burning around Ventura - 130 miles to the north. It destroyed at least 439 buildings as it grew to 180 square miles since Monday. Fire crews also fought large fires around Los Angeles. The Ventura and L.A.-area fires put tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders.
According to CalFire, as of very late Thursday night, six large fires had burned 220 square miles, 190,000 residents were evacuated, 23,000 homes were threatened, 500 were confirmed destroyed and there were 5,700 firefighters on the lines.
A woman was found dead in a wrecked car in an evacuation zone near the city of Santa Paula, where the Ventura County blaze began Monday night, but officials couldn't immediately say whether the accident was fire-related.
Follow along below for live updates on the fires. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.
10:35 a.m.: Wildfire containment updates
Here are the latest acreage and containment figures for each of the six major wildfires burning in Southern California:
- Creek Fire: 15,323 acres, 40 percent contained
- Rye Fire: 6,049 acres, 35 percent contained
- Thomas Fire: 132,000 acres, 10 percent contained
- Skirball Fire: 475 acres, 30 percent contained
- Lilac Fire: 4,100 acres, zero percent contained
- Liberty Fire: 300 acres, 10 percent contained
9:55 a.m.: Evacuation orders lifted in Creek Fire
CBS Los Angeles reports evacuation orders have been lifted in Sylmar. Residents are returning home to assess the level of damage that was caused by the Creek Fire.
Firefighters say flames destroyed nearly three dozen homes in the area. Several other properties were damaged in the fire.
9:45 a.m.: Horses set free from burning barns
A horse training center in San Diego County was forced to set hundreds of thoroughbreds free from their burning barns. Authorities say about 25 horses died while trying to escape.
"Everybody's just grabbing horses, we're trying barns that burnt down over here," Jennifer Bramlett told CBS News correspondent Carter Evans. "I think we've caught most of the loose ones. Everybody will work all night long. We'll find them."
9:35 a.m.: Fierce winds fueling wildfires
CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports firefighters are working endlessly to stop the Lilac Fire in its tracks. Fierce winds are carrying embers through the air, threatening more than 1,000 structures.
At one point, crews only had 500 gallons of water to contain the flames. Firefighters say at this point they are just trying to keep the flames from spreading.
Several homes have been incinerated while others remain untouched in San Diego County.
6:45 a.m.: Property damage mounting
Authorities reporting on the six major wildfires said the number of structures destroyed or damaged had raced past the 500 mark early Friday, with 439 destroyed and 85 damaged in the Thomas Fire alone.
Meteorologists say shifting winds could cause the Thomas Fire to scorch other communities on Friday.
2:55 a.m.: Injuries reported in Lilac fire
CalFireSanDiego reports three people suffered burns in the Lilac fire and one was suffering from smoke inhalation. In addition, the agency said one firefighter sustained a minor injury and another had smoke inhalation.
2:11 a.m.: Calif. governor requests federal disaster declaration
California Governor Jerry Brown asked President Trump to declare a state of emergency for Southern California to aid state and local efforts to fight the historic wildfires burning in the region, Brown's office said late Thursday.
The request follows emergency proclamations by Brown for San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.