A raging inferno engulfed the Los Angeles area overnight forcing over 200,000 people to flee their homes as they were risked being burned to the ground.
Local authorities issued a never before used “purple” alert citing extreme danger including winds that could reach 128 kilometers an hour, severely limiting firefighting efforts.
Among the homes threatened by the fire were mansions in the luxurious Bel-Air neighborhood, some of which belong to famous people including Beyonce, Rupert Murdoch, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
The flames have swallowed about 80,000 acres in just over a day since the fire broke out, leaving at least one dead and many more seriously injured.
A large number of animals are believed to have also died in what is being considered the largest state fire in decades.
The area battled gridlocked traffic as residents fled ash and smoke that churned over the hillside.
Fire crews worked tirelessly throughout the night to save luxury homes engulfed by flames.
Among residents of the luxury area threatened by the fire was the Moraga Estate owned by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, which contains a vineyard,
Singer Lionel Richie canceled a concert to help his ex-wife flee the area, while comedian Chelsea Handler and designer Adrienne Maloof were among celebrities tweeting that they had to evacuate.
Just evacuated my house. It’s like Donald Trump is setting the world on fire. Literally and figuratively. Stay safe everyone. Dark times.
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) December 6, 2017
We are scared and devastated for all those who have lost their homes or who are evacuating like us. My boys and I are safe and are taking ourselves and our animals to my mom’s house. #venturafire pic.twitter.com/aLUJTSotqQ
— Adrienne Maloof (@AdrienneMaloof) December 7, 2017
Sky News reporter Darren McCaffrey tweeted this harrowing video clip of the wildfire as seen from a local freeway.
— Darren McCaffrey (@DarrenGBNews) December 6, 2017
“Yesterday it was further north, but this morning we woke up and it was east of us,” said Los Angeles resident Patricia Moore, 84, loading belongings into the trunk of her car.
“We heard the fire engines before six o’clock this morning, and we said, ‘Maybe we should start getting our stuff into the car’.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said more than 230,000 people had been forced from their homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
At least 4,000 firefighters were deployed across the entire fire zone, including on the scene of the “Rye” blaze – which had grown to 7,000 acres in the Santa Clarita area – as well as the “Creek” fire north of downtown Los Angeles that had grown to more than 11,000 acres.
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over the area.