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New Wildfires In SoCal Threatening Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

With winds blowing close to 50 miles per hour, a wind-driven and growing brush fire in the Greater Los Angeles area is threatening thousands of homes, commercial structures and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Helicopters and tankers could be seen flying over the 153K SF presidential library as firefighters down below were battling pockets of hot spots just beneath the mountain hillside. The Reagan library sits atop a mountain between Simi Valley and Moorpark.

An aerial view of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley. A growing brush fire is threatening the former president's library.

As of 10 a.m. PST, the so-called Easy Fire in the Simi Valley area of Ventura County, about 40 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, has charred 1,300 acres, threatening 6,500 homes, 1,000 structures and the Reagan Library, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. About 5% has been contained.

The brush fire, aided by strong gusts of wind, erupted early this morning. The cause is under investigation. Residents of more than 7,000 homes in Simi Valley, Moorpark and Thousand Oaks are under a mandatory evacuation order. Local schools and universities have been closed. 

On its website, the Reagan Library said it was closed due to the fires and thanked the first responders for working hard to protect the area.

As climate change continues to alter the environmental landscape in the state, the Easy Fire is just one of several brush fires that have erupted across California, in Los Angeles, the Greater Los Angeles region and parts of Northern California in the past week.

In Los Angeles, more than 1,000 firefighters are also battling the Getty wildfire that began early Monday morning near the I-405 freeway and Sepulveda Boulevard. The fire erupted next to the J. Paul Getty Museum, which is home to priceless artwork and sculptures. The Getty Center was built as a fireproof structure and is safe, according to its Twitter feed.

Investigators believe a falling tree branch hit a power line that broke and sparked the Getty fire and then spread along the mountainside due to the high winds and dry vegetation.

In the first 24 hours of the blaze, the fire charred more than 600 acres and burned down eight homes, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Celebrities who live in nearby Brentwood, such as LeBron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger, reportedly evacuated. 

As of Wednesday morning, the Getty fire has burned 745 acres. It is currently 27% contained, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters are also battling blazes in the Santa Clarita Valley. The Tick Fire has burned more than 4,300 acres and destroyed or damaged about 50 residential and commercial structures. The Tick Fire is 94% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. 

The Saddle Ridge Fire in Sylmar is 97% contained after charring more than 8,500 acres and destroying or damaging more than 100 residential homes and other structures. 

In Riverside, the Sandalwood Fire that broke out last week in Riverside County burned more than 1,000 acres and damaged or destroyed 90 homes and/or commercial structures.