California wildfires force people to leave their homes

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Residents used garden hoses to spray palm trees to keep them from burning as firefighters scrambled to stop the progress of flames.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a local State of Emergency Wednesday because of the Skirball Fire.

Powerful winds can push existing fires but also help fan new ones.

"It's definitely moving", Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Garo Kuredjian told the Los Angeles Times.

The space agency noted that "forecasters with the Los Angeles office of the National Weather Service warned that the region is in the midst of its strongest and longest Santa Ana wind event of the year".

"We are still in the middle of an aggressive and active firefight on the ground", said Robert Welsbie, spokesman for the Ventura Fire Department.

ARTnews has reached out to institutions and galleries in areas affected by the crisis and will update this story with reports.

The vegetation fire was reported at 5:46 a.m. and was quickly extinguished, said Monica Munoz, spokeswoman for San Diego Fire-Rescue.

Winds will gradually weaken Friday and Saturday, officials said.

Melissa Rosenzweig, 47, was briefly back home Wednesday after evacuating from her Ventura house, which has been spared so far while most on her street had burned in the largest and most destructive of the region's fires. Eventually, the man corrals the rabbit and is able to grab it up to save it from the flames.

Wind gusts were forecast to top out at 115km/h today, and remain strong through the week.

Southern California authorities have ordered evacuations for the first time in Santa Barbara County as crews protect coastal communities from a destructive wildfire that's steadily marching west and northwest.

They'll leave food out for dogs and cats that flee the flames on their own, hoping they'll return later looking for their owners.

A rapidly growing wildfire in the foothills north of Los Angeles threatened thousands of homes on Tuesday, forcing nearby residents to evacuate after causing at least one death and power outages throughout the area, officials said.