Growing fires threaten Los Angeles

(NBC News) The 80 mile an hour gusts that fanned the flames of swiftly moving wildfires across Southern California earlier this week are back.

The latest fire created a wall of flames along the 405 freeway, the nation’s busiest highway, just as the morning commute got under way Wednesday.

It shut down the freeway for hours, and damaged or destroyed 11 structures, including at least four homes in the exclusive Bel Air neighborhood.

The biggest of the four fires burning in Southern California is the Thomas fire in Ventura County, which now threatens to grow into Santa Barbara County, home to Oprah Winfrey, major wineries and universities.

In all, more than 100,000 acres have burned, some 200,000 people remain evacuated, and about 200 homes and buildings have been damaged or destroyed.

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