Fire crews search for hot spots among destroyed homes in Fallbrook, Calif. (Gregory Bull/AP)
Ferocious, wind-whipped fires continued to roar across Southern California, burning massive stretches of land.
The infernos spread quickly and mercilessly, burning through untold numbers of buildings and creating scenes of apocalyptic destruction throughout the region, from the Santa Barbara area down to San Diego. Entire communities were emptied as tens of thousands of people grabbed what they could and fled.
Horses are evacuated in La Canada Flintridge, Calif. (David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News via AP) A man prepares to evacuate his home in Santa Paula, Calif. (Ringo Chiu/AFP/Getty Images) James and Josie Ralstin carry belongings from their home as the Thomas Fire consumes another residence in Ventura, Calif. (Noah Berger/AP)
Firefighters in multiple locations battled blazes that were spurred by intense winds and extremely dry conditions.
In Ventura County, the Thomas Fire had burned more than 130,000 acres by Friday morning — an area larger than Lake Tahoe.
A firefighter hoses down flare-ups at a two-story apartment complex that burned to the ground in Ventura, Calif. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) A resident walks in the remains of an apartment building destroyed by the Thomas Fire. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) An inmate firefighter battles the Thomas Fire at Ojai Vista Farm. (Mike Nelson/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Other blazes — fires dubbed Creek, Rye, Skirball and Horizon — burned on the outskirts of Los Angeles; columns of flames also advanced toward the heart of Los Angeles, the nation’s second most populous city, destroying homes in the tony Bel Air neighborhood. Another inferno, known as the Lilac Fire, broke out Thursday in San Diego.
Cars burn along with a home during the Lilac Fire in Bonsall, Calif. (Mike Blake/Reuters) Terrified horses gallop from the San Luis Rey Downs horse-training facility in San Diego. (Paul Sisson/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP) A burned car is seen in Little Tujunga Canyon near Sylmar, Calif. (David McNew/Getty Images) Firefighters inside a destroyed home in Bel Air. (John Cetrino/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) A man prays as the Creek Fire rages in the Kagel Canyon area of the San Fernando Valley. (Gene Blevins/Reuters)
Ventura “looked like Armageddon,” one evacuated resident told the Los Angeles Times, adding: “I sat facing the fires, and it was like watching Rome burn. I cried.”
“We rode down into town trying to make sense of what we were seeing — police everywhere, firetrucks, helicopters,” another Ventura County resident told The Post. “It was like a war zone.”
The ruins of an apartment complex in Ventura. (Mike Nelson/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) Fire consumes a home near the Pacific Ocean in Ventura. (Jae C. Hong/AP) The burned remains of crashed cars are seen on a country road where the Thomas Fire raged. (David McNew/Reuters)
Forecasters and officials said the fires will continue to endanger the region: The National Weather Service issued “red flag” warnings of heightened fire risk into the weekend.
Wind blows embers around a resident attempting to hose his burning property in Sunland. (David McNew/Getty Images) Embers fall from a burning oak tree near Bonsall, Calif. (David McNew/Getty Images)
Mark Berman contributed to this report, which has been updated.