Damaged homes in Lake View Terrace

The fires that have and continue to burn the Southland are a grim reminder of the need to have emergency evacuation plans for your family, property and valuables when disasters strike.

At press time, the Creek Fire that began on Dec. 5 and burned through parts of Sylmar — and which fire department officials expected to have fully contained by Saturday, Dec. 16 — had blackened more than 15,000 acres, destroyed 60 homes and 63 outbuildings, damaged another 55 homes and 26 outbuildings, and was still threatening another 2,500 structures, More than 1,700 firefighters were used to battle the blaze.

The Skirball Fire was 85 percent contained but had charred more than 400 acres since it began on Dec. 6. Six homes were destroyed and 12 others were damaged. At one time, about 700 homes and an apartment building in the Bel-Air area were evacuated.

Other devastating fires destroyed or severely damaged homes, structures, and acreage in Santa Clarita Ventura, Ojai, and Santa Barbara county.

LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is urging those who live and work in the Third District to stay ready.

“As horrific and aggressive wildfires continue to burn through so much of Southern California and the Third District, I am filled with admiration for all the supremely courageous and hardworking first responders and send my sympathy, prayers, and hope for all those suffering the terrible impacts,” Kuehl said.

“As the Creek, Skirball and other wildfires rage on, please take every precaution to keep you and your loved ones safe!  Don’t take chances. Be prudent.”

The county provides a 12-page wildfire action plan on its website. and the county Fire Department offers valuable tips on being prepared for an emergency evacuation:

• Keep a pair of old shoes and a flashlight handy for a night evacuation.

•Keep the six “P’s” ready, in case an immediate evacuation is required:

•People and pets

•Papers, phone numbers, and important documents

•Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses

•Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia

•Personal computers (information on hard drive and disks)

• “Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash

For more information about the wildfire action plan, visit the LA County website: https://www.fire.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/RSG-Booklet.pdf.

More information about preparing for an emergency evacuation visit the LA Fire Department website:  http://www.lafd.org/safety/fire-safety/evacuation-information.