Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Wind-driven brush fire quickly grew to at least 10,000 acres threatening homes

Fast-moving California Forest Fire

Hundreds of homes have been evacuated as a wind-driven brush fire quickly grew to at least 10,000 acres, threatening homes in Santa Paula and Ventura on Monday evening and leading to the death of at least one person, Ventura County authorities said.

The Thomas Fire ignited about 6:25 p.m. above Steckel Park, in an unincorporated north of Santa Paula, and burned along Highway 150, according to Ventura County's emergency information website.

Initial reports indicated the blaze had scorched about 50 acres and had a "rapid rate of spread," the Ventura County Fire Department's public information officer tweeted.

By 8 p.m., the fire had increased dramatically in size to 500 acres because of "heavy winds," county fire officials tweeted. Within three hours, the fire had burned 10,000 acres authorities said.

Containment remained at 0 percent.

There has been one confirmed fatality associated with the fire, from a vehicle crash, authorities said.

Firefighters were dealing with numerous spot fires as a result of the difficult conditions, according to Ventura County Fire Captain Steve Kaufmann.

There’s actually multiple different little fires out there because of the conditions that we’re seeing," he told KTLA. "And so, because of that we’ve ordered resources from all over the region.”

The winds were driving the flames in an easterly direction, toward the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura. Authorities said they expected the fire to reach Ventura by about 1 a.m.

This is an updated perimeter map. This fire is burning in steep terrain with 25 to 30 mph wind.

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