Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Southern California looks like hell, literally

Firefighters monitor a section of the Thomas Fire along the 101 freeway this morning. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images.)

Thanks to years of dry weather and a particularly brutal visit from the Santa Ana winds, a fire that started in Ventura County in Southern California earlier this week quickly spread to over 90,000 acres, threatening hundreds of homes, and leaving thousands without power. But as anyone from California knows, it’s never just one fire. Just south of Ventura, in the Los Angeles hills, the Skirball fire began raging near the 405 freeway early Wednesday just as some Angelinos were beginning their morning commute. Though significantly smaller than the Thomas fire in Ventura, the Skirball fire is nestled in a populated and notoriously wealthy area, which is home to the likes of Rupert Murdoch’s (former) estate. The videos posted to social media by some brave commuters present an eerie scene in which hundreds of people willingly drive their cars straight into hell.


The juxtaposition of iconic street names like Sunset and Wilshire and the inferno raging in the background is jarring to say the least. The hills of Bel Air look more like the slopes of Mount Doom than any place a Fresh Prince would reside. Soon after these videos were taken, officials briefly shut down the freeway until the fire was at least partially contained. But, at the time of this article, the Skirball fire is still only 5 percent contained and has already destroyed four homes.

As area firefighters continue to battle the flames, and Northern California continues to recover from its own recent bout of wildfires, we can only hope the region as a whole can soon return to its former, less-apocalyptic state.


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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.