Firefighters battling California wildfires with hurricane-force winds

An intense Santa Ana wind event is contributing to the rapid spread of a new brush fire in Southern California as firefighters are battling infernos throughout the West.
7:21 | 10/31/19

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Transcript for Firefighters battling California wildfires with hurricane-force winds
We're going to the other side of the car. Seek shelter. You can see the embers cast right there. This is the easy fire in simi Valley, California, north of los Angeles. It's a new fire that broke out early this morning, fueled by the strongest Santa Ana wind event in over a decade. Gusting at over 80 miles per hour it tripled in size in just two hours. The winds make targeting the fires from the air extremely difficult. Right now we're about to get dropped on. You can hear that plane coming through. Look out! It's going to hit. Reporter: Winds are powerful enough to knock over big rigs. And can carry embers that can start new fires miles away. And you can see how fast this wind is moving, just picking the smoke up and whisking it right off the ground here. The heat is intense. The wind is enormous, and it's fueling that inferno. It moved so fast we had to take cover behind a fire truck. Oh, my god, you can see that wind. The national weather service has issued what is called an extreme red flag warning, something that it has never done before. These Santa Ana winds form when strong high pressure over the rocky mountains pushes cold, dry air west ward. And, when it moves through the mountains and canyons in southern California, it compresses and heats up, super charging the wind speeds. The so-called easy fire came within 30 yards of the presidential library. That's where firefighters were able to create a buffer zone of brush. David Muir was there on the front lines. This fire has been moving very quickly. It broke out in the middle of the night here in Simi Valley. They're trying to protect about 6500 homes now in danger. At least 1300 acres are already burning, and of course part of the overall effort, the effort to protect the Reagan presidential library. Reporter: And inside the library, air force one. Smoke and fire menacing it on the opposite side of those It's the largest presidential library in the U.S. National treasures here. Reporter: What is it like seeing it so threatened? Scary situation. You don't often come to work to see a disaster of this magnitude. And we're surrounded by heroes, firemen with shovels and rakes. Up in the air. They're doing a heroic job. They're going to save this library. Reporter: It's been a relentless battle. Airplanes and helicopters dropping fire retardant throughout the day, dowsing the sheriff's office posted this photo to Instagram, showing deputies covered in pink retardant. You can see the urgent effort in the hills because of the Santa Ana winds. They are flying overhead. We have wind gusts up to 60, 70 miles per hour already, and you can see them dropping retardant. Reporter: Across the fire zone, folks scrambling to get to safety. You can tell how fast this fire is moving. It's just cooking that grass. That's raw fuel for a fire like it has been moving with the wind, casting that massive column of smoke here, obviously clogging up this road, but there's nothing that's going to stop this grass fire at least right now. These have completely burned through at this point. That's how fast this thing is moving. Reporter: Along this road, coy hear the whinnying of horses through that haze of smoke. You can hear horses in there, but it's hard to tell. Where are you? Here, here! I'm trying. Reporter: A woman alone fighting the flames with that garden hose. You're okay. So sorry. Yeah! Reporter: Suddenly, she's called to the stables. I got to get my horse. Reporter: Her name is Ariana shulkin. I'm coming, girl. Reporter: And the wind and smoke spooking her horse, Athena. We need trailers! Reporter: Other animals with their owners. Finally, Athena is loaded in like so many other horses and driven to safety. I know there are still horses. A lot of owners haven't been able to get out yet. Reporter: And east of L.A., the hill fire also erupting today. Patients and seniors evacuated outside this senior living home, wearing face masks to shield them from all of the smoke in the air. Holding hands as workers desperately try to wheel them out to safety. Some still in their beds. And, in Los Angeles, the Getty fire had threatened the Getty museum and its priceless art collection. That fire now under control. Yet firefighters across the state are working around the clock tonight. Station number nine has been battling the flames for days now. Their first shift, 26 hours straight. They haven't been home since Sunday. This was a part of los Angeles that hasn't seen fires in quite a few years. Right. I don't think this area's seen fires since I believe it was 1961 with the bel-air fire. But I mean something that residents reality. Reporter: The firefighters keenly aware they are facing something new with these violent Santa Ana winds. We haven't seen something like this since 2007. So just to give you an idea of how unusual it is, it's been 12, 13 years since we've seen such a strong wind event. That red flag warning hasn't been issued since 2007, does that say to you? That the wind is so high and so fast that it's going to be wind driven. Reporter: Despite the challenges and danger, the dedication to the people and homes they are fighting for remains. We try to save them all. Like, we can't always be in the right place at the right time. And we do the best with what we've got. Which explains why you can have a home standing here and the one behind us gone. Absolutely. Some of it's timing and some of it's what we can't account for when the fire generates its own weather. I know you wish you could save them all. If we could. Reporter: Tonight the winds have calmed down, but more red flag warnings are expected tomorrow as the state of California remains on edge, and its heroes continue to hold the line. Our thanks to Matt and David on the ground, and our thoughts are certainly with the brave first responders and families affected.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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