Los Angeles Zoo moves animals as encroaching wildfires creep closer

As nearly 150,000 residents of Southern California flee from raging wildfires quickly encroaching toward Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Zoo has begun to move vulnerable animals to safe shelters.

A brush fire in nearby Griffith Park, which was engulfing 30 acres of land, forced the closing of the zoo on Friday. Wafting smoke plumes propelled by wind gusts menacingly hovered over the zoo as staffers moved at-risk animals, reported CNN.

Numerous birds were brought into a zoo classroom to protect them from inhaling the smoke. More than 1,400 animals and 7,000 plants are on the premises of the 133-acre zoo and botanical gardens.

The entire city of Malibu, home to about 13,000 residents, was ordered to evacuate as fast-moving conflagrations raced toward densely populated areas.

The Woolsey Fire, now scorching more than 35,000 acres, jumped the freeway and continued blazing toward Malibu. Because of the pressing danger, the freeway was closed in both conditions on Friday, said authorities.

Hundreds of firefighters were trying to contain the Woolsey Fire late into Friday night but have had little success. No severe injuries or fire-related fatalities have been reported, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Authorities are warning Southern Californians to steer clear of the blaze as wind gusts have reached 70 mph, which gives the fire the impetus to spread quickly.

A second blaze, known as the Hill Fire, could expand all the way to the Pacific Ocean, warned authorities.