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Skirball Fire rises to 20% containment, some evacuations lifted

A firefighter controls flames burning in a home at the Skirball Fire in the upscale Bel- Air section of west Los Angeles, California, December 6, 2017. California motorists commuted past a blazing inferno Wednesday as wind-whipped wildfires raged across the Los Angeles region, with flames triggering the closure of a major freeway and mandatory evacuations in an area dotted with mansions. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 5:59 p.m. — for the latest updates, go here.

Evacuations | Road closures | School closures | Ask us your questions!

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that some of the mandatory evacuations placed in response to the Skirball Fire will be lifted Thursday night. 

Beginning at 8 p.m., residents who live on Casiano Road, north of Mulholland Drive, Roscomare Road — except Linda Flora Drive at Roscomare — and on the streets between Bellagio and Sunset will be able to return to their homes, Garcetti said at a news conference.

Casiano Road off of Bellagio will remain closed, as will other areas under mandatory evacuation.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Roscomare Road between Mulholland and Sunset,  Bellagio, Bell Terrace, and North Casiano Roads will only be open for individuals with proof of residency. 

Linda Flora, Moraga, and Lower Casiano will still be closed, as well Roscomare between Mulholland and Bellagio. 

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck encouraged residents going back to their homes to inspect their homes for anything amiss before settling in.

The Skirball Fire stands at 475 acres, with 20 percent containment, according to fire officials speaking at a Thursday morning briefing. The greatest overnight concern for officials was wind speed, but favorable wind conditions so far have helped firefighters keep the blaze from exploding in growth. 

No deaths related to the fire have been reported, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. One firefighter has burns around his neck and is receiving treatment, according to Garcetti.

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said the department used drones to film property damage and to identify hotspots for firefighters to extinguish.

Terrazas said the drones and the aircraft used by firefighters will not be in the air at the same time. 

According to Terrazas, the northeastern part of the fire is still the most active. 

"In a wind-driven event, wind is king," said LAFD incident commander Armando Hogan. "If things stay the way they are, we'll be happy with that."

Four homes have been destroyed and 12 others have been damaged, officials said. L.A. councilman Paul Koretz mentioned that some people have defied the evacuation orders despite being in the fire zone.

Wind, smoke and air quality concerns from the fire forced UCLA to cancel classes and Cal State Northridge to close its campus Thursday, according to statements from both schools. 

"This is a difficult decision, since final exams begin on Saturday. The university remains safe, remains outside the evacuation area, and The South Coast Air Quality Management District continues to indicate that campus air quality is in the moderate range," the statement from UCLA reads. 

Cal State Northridge pointed to the threat of high winds and smoke in its statement, released early Thursday morning. 

Evacuations

A map of evacuation areas can be found below:

Evacuation centers currently accepting evacuees and small pets, if accompanied by their owners:

Large animals can be taken to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds at 2551 W Ave H in Lancaster and the Fairplex at 1101 W McKinley Ave in Pomona. 

Smaller animals can be taken to any City of Los Angeles animal shelter. 

School closures

All Santa Monica-Malibu schools were closed Thursday.

Classes remained canceled at Santa Monica College.

LAUSD posted a list of schools closed on Thursday and Friday. 

Road closures

The northbound 405 off-ramps at Moraga, Getty Center and Skirball Center are blocked, while all other lanes are open, according to information from the CHP. 

Traffic incidents are expected to continue as the fires progress.

ASK US YOUR QUESTIONS

KPCC journalists are covering the fires burning across Southern California and are working hard to answer community members' questions. Let us know what you need to know below.

 
 

This is a developing story.