Firefighters battled several intense wind-driven wildfires early on Friday across densely populated Southern California that have destroyed at least 500 structures and chased tens of thousands of people from their homes over the past five days.
More than 5,700 firefighters from across California and the region worked to stop the spread of six large wildfires and other smaller blazes that have erupted since Monday, from Los Angeles up the Pacific coast to Santa Barbara County, and stoked by fierce westward Santa Ana winds.
Firefighters and helicopters sprayed and dumped water and fire retardant on the inferno, against a hellish backdrop of flaming mountains and walls of smoke as the blaze hopscotched over highways and railroad tracks and torched rows of houses.
The raging fires have forced the evacuation of about 190,000 people and threatened 23,000 homes as of late on Thursday, CAL FIRE said in a post on Twitter.
The Los Angeles Unified…