A massive wildfire was raging in the rugged countryside outside Los Angeles, forcing the closure of California's scenic coastal highway as hundreds of residents were evacuated.
Wind-driven flames ripped through tinder-dry brush and were soon racing towards the Pacific Ocean, incinerating more than 8,000 acres (32 square kilometers) and putting around 2,000 homes at risk.
Television footage showed Thursday at least one home ablaze in an isolated canyon as around 600 firefighters fanned out across the vast area to try and staunch the rapidly advancing wall of fire.
"We have conditions that are very dramatic, very dangerous for firefighters. This fire is growing," Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Tom Kruschke told NBC4 television.
"We are asking members of the public to be very aware -- this is very dangerous. This is still a moving fire."
The blaze fanned by strong winds ravaged hillsides and canyons in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, threatening homes around the towns of Newbury Park and Camarillo, north of Malibu.