Days into the devastating fires that are scorching parts of southern California and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, there isn't much relief in sight.
As of Thursday morning, strong winds, low humidity and generally dry conditions are threatening to exacerbate the problems even further as they create a prime environment for fire growth. According to CNN, Thursday forecasts could bring winds up to 80 mph.
“We stand a fairly good chance of a very challenging night and day (Thursday),” Tim Chavez, a fire behavior analyst for CalFire, said at a news conference in Ventura County. “There's a lot of potential for some large fire growth.”
Heavy smoke covers the seaside enclave of Mondos Beach beside the 101 highway as flames reach the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, California Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
As the Thomas Fire in Ventura County grows larger than 140 square miles, more than 260 schools in the L.A. area will be closed on Thursday and Friday. Residents are being told that they should stay inside or wear masks to combat the appallingly bad air quality, even if they’re miles away from the fires.
Amid the destruction, travelers in and out of the area aren’t sure what to expect in the coming days. Here's what you need to know.
Where are the California Fires Now?
As of Thursday, the California fires have spread to parts of Ventura, Ojai, Mira Monte, Mussel Shoals and Santa Paula.
According to CNN, firefighters are also worried that the fire could jump west of the Interstate 405 highway, but are working diligently to contain it.
Additionally, California’s longest highway, the U.S. 101, has been shut down from Carpinteria to Ventura due to multiple fires.
Is LAX Open?
As of Thursday morning, LAX is completely operational. The airport is far enough away from the fires that flights in and out are largely unaffected.
However, travel around the Los Angeles area has become harrowing. With the closure of the 101 and temporary closure of the 405 Freeway, LAX is urging passengers traveling to and from the airport to leave plenty of extra time.
They have also reported delays on their FlyAway shuttle, which travels from Van Nuys (near the fires) to LAX, within the last 24 hours, although their latest update states that those delays have been normalized.
Are there Delays at LAX from the Fire?
At this time, air travel is not being directly affected by the fires with LAX reporting very few delays.
Within the last 24 hours, the Burbank airport, which is also located near the fires, tweeted, “The Airport is open and flights remain operational, although we remind passengers to check their flight status with their airline.”
While worsening conditions could affect both airports, they are currently operating without any big issues.
Additionally, should travelers choose to change their plans because of the fires, Southwest and JetBlue have now announced that they will waive far differences and change fees.