Wildfires in California are raging around Los Angeles, fueled by strong Santa Ana winds. Locals are sharing images of the terrifying scene on social media.
It was not a normal commute for drivers on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning.
In the hours before sunrise, wildfire embers fueled by strong Santa Ana winds shot up into the air above traffic, creating a fiery hellscape that heated drivers' windows and temporarily shut down the interstate. Early Wednesday morning, both sides of the freeway had to be shut down, but the southbound 405 was later re-opened.
Strong Santa Ana winds and unusually dry, hot weather are fueling the fires, which started Monday in Ventura County.
The National Weather Service and local firefighters say conditions could worsen before things get better, since the windy days are expected to last until at least Saturday. A roughly 300-mile stretch of California, from the Mexican border up to Santa Maria, is on alert.
The southern California fires come just two months after northern California was hit with its deadliest spate of wildfires on record. The governor has yet again declared a state of emergency as nearly 200,000 people have been forced to evacuate.
The Los Angeles Fire Department is ordering a mandatory evacuation for anyone South of Mulholland Dr, East of the 405 Freeway, West of Roscomare Road and North of Sunset Boulevard.
Tardy said it's not unusual to have these powerful winds in December and January, but LA's very dry, warm fall made conditions ripe for ravenous fires.
"Any new fires will have extreme levels of fire growth potential," the agency wrote on Twitter. "Prepare now & be ready to GO!"