More than 200,000 people have been evacuated state-wide, with 20,000 people evacuated from metropolitan Los Angeles and southern California.
Sustained winds were gusting to 66 miles per hour at Boney Mountain in Ventura County, according to the National Weather Service.
On top of exhaustion from the long hours, they're also trying to stave off the effects of smoke inhalation and the airborne embers irritating their eyes.
With the extreme wildfire threat looming over the region, the fire department dispatched four engines, three brush rigs, two helicopters and at least one water tender.
The Thomas fire, which was the first to ignite, has already burned about 90,000 acres of land and is expected to intensify due to the increasing winds.
About 100 officers from the Los Angeles Police Department were sent to the neighborhood to handle evacuation orders, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. Ten years ago, as a series of similar fires raced across Southern California, a blaze in Fallbrook injured five people, destroyed 206 homes and burned 14 square miles (36 square kilometers).
This NASA Earth Observatory natural-color image taken on Dec. 5 shows the wildfires in Ventura County Calif
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the country's second largest with more than 640,000 students, said it closed at least 265 of its almost 1,100 schools. Both were closed for the day, as was Santa Monica College and all schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu school district.
Los Angeles Police Cmdr.
"We're basically in an urban firefight in Ventura, where if you can keep that house from burning, you might be able to slow the fire down", said Tim Chavez, a fire behavior specialist at the blaze.
California Fire Department (Cal Fire) officials said dry, windy conditions were expected to continue into the weekend and warned residents to be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Flames hopscotched over highways and railroad tracks, and residents rushed to evacuate their homes with only minutes' warning, some leaving behind holiday gifts. They were taking a break after battling fires in nearby Ojai the night before, winds whipping in off of the ocean as they rested.
The national weather service was predicting near hurricane-force winds for Thursday morning in the mountains and canyons of Ventura County and northwest Los Angeles County - winds that make for rapid, unpredictable fire spreading, officials said. But roadways remain closed throughout the region.
The fire is the biggest in Los Angeles since the Bel Air fire in 1961 torched the homes of the rich and famous. They called owners of the dead horses to inform them of the news after returning to the property, according to the Times.
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