Vehicles pass beside a wall of flames on the 101 highway as it reaches the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 6.
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images

Wind-driven wildfires that broke out in Southern California have destroyed more than 184 homes and forced evacuations of tens of thousands of residents. 

Here's what we know so far.

When did it start?

The biggest fire started Monday evening in Santa Paula, Calif., with help from fierce Santa Ana winds. 

More: Massive smoke plumes from Southern California fires can be seen from space

Related: Winds from hell: Notorious 'Santa Anas' fuel ferocious California wildfires

Where is it now?

On Wednesday, the big concern was a new wildfire in west Los Angeles. Four homes burned near Bel-Air before firefighters got the upper hand.

How many fires are there?

There were five separate blazes:

• The Thomas fire, which started in Ventura County northwest of downtown Los Angeles, is the largest.

• The Creek fire, north of downtown Los Angeles, was in Lakeview Terrace and Sylmar.

• The Rye fire is near Santa Clarita.

• The Little Mountain fire in San Bernardino.

• The Skirball fire is one of the most recent, starting Wednesday morning near the Skirball Cultural Center in west Los Angeles. 

Are the fires contained?

More than 1,800 firefighters have battled the erratic Thomas fire, which is just 5% contained, according to the 8 p.m. PT update by Cal Fire. The Creek fire is also 5% contained and the Skirball fire is 10% contained. Little Mountain Fire is now 100% contained.

The threat of the Rye Fire to Simi Valley has been reduced due to overnight firefighting efforts, Simi Valley police said Wednesday. According to The Associated Press, firefighters stopped the spread of the wildfire near the world-famous Getty art museum and the ritzy Bel-Air neighborhood, where houses range in price from $2 million to tens of millions of dollars.

How many acres have burned?

The Thomas fire has burned at least 90,000 acres. The Creek fire has burned at least 12,600 acres and the Rye fire destroyed at least 7,000 acres. The Skirball fire covered 475 acres as of Wednesday evening. 

 

How many people have evacuated?

Nearly 200,000 people have been told to evacuate.

How many structures have burned? 

The Thomas fire has destroyed at least 150 structures. The Creek fire has destroyed at least 30 structures. At least four homes were destroyed in the Skirball fire, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday.

What's fueling these destructive fires?

The Santa Ana winds occur most often in the fall and winter. They push dry air from the inland deserts of California and the Southwest out toward the Pacific, the reverse of the normal wind pattern. During the latest fires, they reached speeds of more than 45 mph. Unusually, they were not backed by high temperatures.

Contributing: The Associated Press