The decision closes at least 265 schools in neighborhoods affected by the wildfires raging in and near Los Angeles. Numerous first responders including the Los Angeles City Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the U.S. Forestry Department were sent to the scene. About 2,500 homes were ordered evacuated.
The new fire came as part of a series of wind-driven fires that had destroyed more than 180 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
The fire prompted evacuation orders for about 27,000 people.
At noon, there was no containment of any of the blazes. Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a local state of emergency in Los Angeles due to the blaze.
The 7,000-acre Rye Fire in Santa Clarita - now 5 percent contained - shut down a section of Interstate 5 on Tuesday. Fire officials said there were two firefighter injuries, including one who was hurt when the bulldozer he was operating overturned.
Dry, gusty winds drove the Thomas Fire after it ignited Monday evening and spread from Santa Paula into the city of Ventura.
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Gov. Brown said, "This fire is very unsafe and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got.It's critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so".
Twenty-nine horses have burned to death in one of the fires raging in Southern California this week.
The National Weather Service says that winds are likely to pick up throughout Southern California's coastal and mountain areas and remain risky through at least Friday. "The structures can get rebuilt, but the lives of the horses can't..."
"At this time, the fire has grown to over 4,000 acres and still growing, as you can see, with the wind gusts now facing us here, approximately a couple of miles away from the fire", Richardson said.
The smaller fire on the northern edge of Los Angeles was estimated at more than 6 square miles (15 square kilometers) and had burned homes, though no damage estimates were released. A full list of closed schools is available at lausd.net. It remained unclear how many structures were destroyed, though authorities said many were reported as threatened and some were on fire.