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See the devastation caused by wildfires ravaging Southern California

Fires have forced upwards of 200,000 people from their homes

USA California WILDFIRES weather vane

A weather vane is pictured on a ranch during the Creek Fire in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles on Tuesday. (Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters)

Firefighters battle intense flames

Firefighters are struggling for a fourth day to get an upper hand on wildfires in Southern California, where four major fires have put tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders and destroyed nearly 200 homes and buildings, a figure that is almost certain to grow.

USA California WILDFIRES firefighter battles burning home

(Gene Blevins/Reuters)

A wall of fire

Firefighters faced a wall of flames early Thursday morning at the Thomas fire in Ventura County. It is the largest of the four wildfires that have been devouring homes since Monday and is now threatening the city of Ojai.

USA California WILDFIRES home destroyed

(Gene Blevins/Reuters)

USA California WILDFIRES home destroyed by Creek Fire

(Gene Blevins/Reuters)

Unpredictable winds 

Authorities closed a major freeway Thursday as flames from the largest Southern California wildfire jumped lanes and churned toward coastal and mountain communities northwest of Los Angeles. A more favourable wind forecast still called for potentially dangerous gusts, but ones not likely to approach historic levels forecasters had feared, according to the National Weather Service.

USA CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES Firefighters extinguish Thomas Fire

(Kyle Grillot/AFP/Getty Images)

USA California WILDFIRES Firefighters battle to save homes

(Gene Blevins/Reuters)

Evacuation orders in Ventura County 

Calmer overnight conditions helped crews protect the Ventura County resort town of Ojai, where most of the 7,000 residents were under new evacuation orders following a big burst of wind late Wednesday. 

California wildfires Firefighters monitor Thomas Fire

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Highways closed

Officials closed U.S. 101 for dozens of kilometres along the coast, cutting off a major route between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for several hours as fire charred heavy brush along lanes.

USA California WILDFIRES car burns

(Gene Blevins/Reuters)

A burned classic car is seen in Little Tujunga Canyon during the Creek Fire near Sylmar, on Wednesday.

Southern California Wildfires Forces Thousands to Evacuate

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Bel-Air ablaze

A Los Angeles County Fire helicopter flies over the Skirball Fire, which began early Wednesday morning in Bel-Air.

USA WILDFIRE CALIFORNIA Los Angeles County Fire helicopter

(John Cetrino/EPA) (JOHN CETRINO)

The view from space

This satellite image from the NASA Earth Observatory shows smoke and flames from one of several fires burning north of Ventura, on Tuesday afternoon.

California wildfires NASA Earth Observatory

(NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens/EOSDIS Rapid Response and modified Copernicus Sentinel data)

Residents scramble to save their homes

Carolyn Potter tries to save her house as she throws dirt on her fence along Nye Road in Ventura County. 

California wildfire woman tries to save her house

(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)

John and Julie Wilson sort through the remnants of their burned home after the Thomas wildfire swept through Ventura, on Wednesday. 

USA WEATHER FIRES CALIFORNIA burnt out home

(Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

The remains of a home are seen after it burned to the ground during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura County. 

California WILDFIRES remains of a home are seen after it burned

(Mike Blake/Reuters)

An apocalyptic scene

Embers blow from a tree shortly before it fell down near burned cars as strong winds push the Thomas Fire across thousands of hectares near Santa Paula.

California WILDFIRES Embers blow from a tree

(David McNew/Reuters)

A firefighter gets into position to battle the Creek Fire as a house in Los Angeles is engulfed in flames on Tuesday.

California wildfire firefighter Creek Fire

(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)