A Southern California wildfire grew from 10 acres to 6,500 acres in a mere five hours, officials said, with no containment.

The blaze ignited during the morning rush hour along US 101 in the Camarillo area, roughly 50 miles west of Los Angeles. Quickly spread by the winds, flames moved down slopes toward subdivisions, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. The fire was one of two that firefighters were battling in the Los Angeles area. The other was in Riverside County.

Forced evacuations took place throughout the day, people left homes and the campus of California State University, Channel Islands, attended by about 5,000 students. Meanwhile, flames swept the fringes of Southern California communities.

At least 500 people have been evacuated from their homes, the LA Times reported.

Horrified observers at a safe distance often wonder about the less obvious hazards of such wildfires.

According to firefighters, heat and smoke are often more dangerous than the actual flames — the two certainly kill more people. Inhaling hot air can sear your lungs and the poisonous gases produced from incinerated material makes a person disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, people often fall into deeper sleep as fire uses up their necessary oxygen.

Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.