Firefighters are working very hard to minimize damage to property.
The Thomas Fire was the largest of several large blazes that broke out across Southern California following the onset of the Santa Ana winds.
Evacuation orders first issued Tuesday affected about 150,000 households citywide, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said "thousands upon thousands of homes" had been protected over the past few days.
Mansions and modest homes alike were in flames in the city. More than a quarter of the city's residents had been told to get out.
Tens of thousands of residents forced to evacuate due to because of the wind-driven fire that broke out at 3:42 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Gold Creek and Little Tujunga roads in the Kagel Canyon area, were allowed to return home Thursday night.
On Tuesday, while at her parents' house with her 17-month-old son, Christie Evans was watching the news with her mom and sister.
Linda Keasler said they were just glad to be alive despite losing so much. At that speed, it would have covered Manhattan's Central Park in about 14 minutes.
"We're chasing the fire, trying to get ahead of it, trying to get in front to provide structure defense", Los Angeles County Chief Deputy David Richardson told reporters at an afternoon briefing as thick black smoke drifted across the city. It engulfed dry chaparral and climbed through steep terrain. Winds quickly drove it west into the city some 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
ABC 7 reported 350 firefighters from 52 engine companies were stationed at the scene, supported by helicopters making water drops and six fixed-wing aircrafts. The highway remained open even as other roads were closed, officials said. A red-flag warning is in effect until 8 p.m. PT on Friday.
The Creek fire, which burned homes in the hills above Sylmar, was now 80% contained.
"We got knots in our stomach coming back up here", Kermode said.
"I left the meeting, raced home, and I saw a skyscraper inferno of smoke", Nasarenko said. "I texted a friend a mile or so away who gave me more info".
Officials said that expected winds, which could strike up at a moment's notice and had been pushing the fires toward populated areas, remained a concern.
Rosenberg and his wife are currently at his parents'-in-law home in Carpinteria, about 25 minutes from their home. More than 1,700 firefighters on Saturday continued to patrol the area in Sylmar stricken by the fire and improve lines of cleared vegetation.
By early Tuesday, power had been restored to all but 20,000 customers - but more outages were possible because flames were burning along power transmission paths, Cox said.
The human death toll from the fires so far has been low, with authorities reporting one confirmed fire-related death: Medical examiners in Ventura identified a body found Wednesday as Virginia Pesola, 70, from Santa Paula.
"I've never seen a fire burn down so many structures so fast in my (30-year) career", Macklin said.
All Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley and some on L.A.'s Westside - a total of 265 district schools and charter schools - were closed Thursday and will remain shuttered today.
"Unbelievable conditions", Michael Dubron wrote. Pesola died of "blunt force injuries with terminal smoke inhalation and thermal injuries" in a traffic incident during "active fire evacuation", according to the county medical examiner.
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