Rapidly spreading California wildfire forces thousands from homes

06 December, 2017, 01:16 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Trees sway in the Santa Ana Winds as a smoke rises from the Canyon Fire 2 in Orange

A wildfire driven by California's dry, seasonal Santa Ana winds rapidly expanded to more than 12,500 hectares overnight outside Los Angeles, forcing widening evacuations on Tuesday.

"The prospects for containment are not good", Lorenzen said in a news conference early Tuesday morning, adding that there is no possibility of using aircraft at night to help contain the fire.

Ventura County officials said about 500 firefighters were now battling the blaze, known as the Thomas Fire, and more were being deployed.

The fire started north of Santa Paula and burned into the Ventura city limits, pushed by strong east winds. More than 27,000 people were evacuated and one firefighter suffered bumps and bruises in a vehicle accident in Ventura County. Numerous evacuated homes were in that city.

Fire crews from Northern California were dispatched south, as Cal Fire moved 10 fire trucks and crews.to be pre-positioned to south of the Tehachapis. One of the blazes broke out Monday in Ventura County and grew wildly to more than 70 square miles (180 square kilometers) in a matter of hours, county Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said.

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"The fire is still out of control and structures continue to be threatened throughout the fire area", county emergency officials said in statement.

The National Weather Service said easterly Santa Ana winds fueling the fire had registered gusts of up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour).

"I'm not going to wait around for someone to come rescue me so I'm outta here", said June Byrum.

Southern California Edison said almost 180,000 customers in the Ventura county area were without service.

Shelters have been set up a local school and county fairgrounds for evacuees.

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