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Wildfires burn Bel-Air mansions as spread continues


Wildfires have now reached Los Angeles' wealthy Bel-Air neighbourhood, BBC reports.
 
The so-called Skirball Fire destroyed several homes in the exclusive area, quickly spreading over 150 acres.

It is the latest eruption of wildfire in the state, which has already seen widespread destruction from a series of uncontrolled blazes.

The largest, named the Thomas Fire, has covered some 90,000 acres. By Wednesday night, California's fire service said it had threatened 12,000 buildings, destroyed 150, and was only "5% contained".

Mandatory evacuation orders remain in several areas, as strong winds help to spread the flames.

Authorities issued a purple alert - the highest level warning ever issued in the state - amid what it called "extremely critical fire weather".

The nearby University of California (UCLA) cancelled all classes on Thursday, despite the university campus lying outside the evacuation zone on the city's west side. It said it had taken the decision "given the array of uncertainties".

The Getty Museum, which is also at risk, said it would remain closed on Thursday. It said it had not removed its artworks and that air filtration systems were protecting its collection - which includes pieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh and Turner - from smoke damage.

Across the entire state, more than 200,000 people have been evacuated.
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