Video shows fire raging near California freeway

"Now that we're back here, maybe we're thinking about some of the stuff we've lost".

Wildfires continued raging across Southern California on Wednesday, with a new blaze that ignited in the early morning threatening one of the ritziest parts of Los Angeles.

Officials closed U.S. 101 for more than a dozen miles along the coast, cutting off a major route between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as fire charred heavy brush along lanes.

Thousands of residents have been forced to flee their homes already.

The acclaimed Getty arts institution - home to masterpieces including those by Edouard Manet - was closed until at least Thursday.

The first and largest blaze, the Thomas Fire, started Monday night in Ventura County. The daring rescue was captured by a news photographer who happened upon the scene Wednesday night.

"My son went out, came in, and said, 'Mom, you gotta see this, '" she said. "The entire town was pitch black". "So it pushes air out of the building rather than allowing air filled with smoke and ash to come in".

Ashford said he is happy to help.

Thanks to vicious Santa Anas, the color-coded system showing the expected strength of the winds driving the region's fierce wildfires has reached uncharted territory, pushing past red, which means "high" into the color that means "extreme".

Fires in suburban settings like these are likely to become more frequent as climate change makes fire season a year-round threat and will put greater pressure on local budgets, said Char Miller, a professor of environmental analysis at Pomona College who has written extensively about wildfires.

"If the winds pick up, we will face quite a challenge".

The National Weather Service expects conditions to last throughout the week.

But the hard-won progress of firefighters could be erased Thursday. We need to have everybody heads up and heads on a swivel.

Everyone's - you know, at all of these press conferences going on, the message to residents is really to be ready, to be packed and be ready because these winds are changing so fast, the fire conditions have been very unpredictable.

"This area should be ReadySetGo and be prepared for possible evacuation for Skirball Fire in December 2017", a notification on Google Maps read. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, it is 0% contained, . "So please, take this serious, pack a bag, be ready to go". Cal Fire Operations Chief Mark Higgins urged crews to extinguish even the smallest smoldering areas.

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