LOS ANGELES, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of U.S. firefighters were battling to save homes Tuesday as a dynamic brush fire driven by strong winds exploded to at least 4,000 acres in hours in Southern California.
The fast moving brush fire, dubbed the Creek Fire, began early Tuesday in Los Angeles County. Firefighters were battling on the scene, being supported by water-dropping helicopters.
"Over 240 LAFD (alone plus all unified agencies) working relentlessly to battle both on ground and by air. Thus far, their dedicated efforts have prevented the loss of life," said Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) on its official website.
Some 105 patients were being voluntarily evacuated from Mountain View Convalescent Center on Fenton Ave in Sylmar, said LAFD, noting that they had no reported injuries from any civilians.
An unknown number of homes were destroyed by the blaze, according to LAFD.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered in Kagel Canyon and some other nearby areas.
Clouds of black smoke were seen from miles away before blowing by wind over the valley.
The fire started at several points on the hills in the early morning and blew up to a raging fire, sprawling along the terrain, according to local residents.
"I wake up by the sound of fire engines around 5 o'clock in the morning," Derek Berry told Xinhua. "Watching through the windows, there is a lot of smoke," said Berry, who fled his home immediately to a safe area.
Two of his neighbours' houses were damaged by the blaze, according to Berry.
"The area had been burned through three years ago in a big brush fire," said resident, Anna Determan, who have lived there for around 32 years.
She said that she would evacuate in accordance with the latest development of the blaze and the change of wind direction because her house is at the foot of the hill and vegetation is exiguous around.
Strong winds were hindering the deployment of firefighting aircraft, according to fire officials.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck urged local residents to evacuate immediately if they were told to leave, noting that strong winds are expected to continue through at least Thursday.