Deadly Woolsey Fire burns famous properties, could worsen with strong winds

L.A. City Firefighter Zach Duda walks past the burning home of Shane Clark on Hitching Post Lane after the Woolsey fire swept through the Bell Canyon neighborhood of West Hills. (Credit: Getty Images)

Firefighters worked throughout Sunday to contain two wildfires in Southern California ahead of what is expected to be a period of high winds that threaten containment efforts.

As of Sunday night, the Woolsey Fire had spread to 85,550 acres and was 15 percent contained, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Hill fire, the smaller of the two, has burned 4,531 acres in Ventura County and is 75 percent contained. At one point on Friday, the fire was estimated to be moving at 44 acres per minute.

Firefighters deployed 22 helicopters during a lull in the winds on Sunday in a non-stop attack against the Woolsey Fire using water and fire retardant. Winds are expected to pick up in the coming days, with gusts predicted to reach around 40 miles per hour, which could greatly accelerate the fire’s spread.

Officials allowed residents to start returning to Agoura Hills and Westlake Village on Sunday night. Both communities were devastated by the blaze. The Woolsey Fire has killed two people and forced 250,000 people to evacuate areas northwest of Los Angeles.

The fire has torched at least 177 buildings, including multi-million dollar homes and historic buildings.

The Western Town and Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, a replica old West town that’s been used for film shoots since the 1930s, was partially burned down. The Sepulveda Adobe, a historic building in Malibu Creek State Park built in 1863 and that was being restored prior to the fire, was reduced to a shell. On Sunday, flames were seen approaching former President Ronald Reagan’s ranch, which is also part of Malibu Creek State Park.

In Northern California, the Camp Fire has devastated an area around Paradise, California. At least 29 people have died and another 200 are missing in the area around the blaze. The 110,000-acre fire was 25 percent contained as of Sunday night. [Los Angeles Times]Dennis Lynch

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