Wind-swept blaze torches 25,000 acres in Southern California; thousands without power, evacuations mandatory

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A raging brush fire in the Santa Paula area has torched about 10,000 acres and caused the mandatory evacuation of more than 3,000 homes, it was reported shortly before midnight Monday. (Please note, all times in this article are Pacific Standard Time.)

KTLA 5 said in addition to the evacuations, several roads in the area have been closed, including Highway 150.

The blaze, called the Thomas Fire, is reported to have started at 6:25 p.m. Monday, burning about 50 acres at that point.

Strong winds have been pushing the flames toward Santa Paula and Ventura at a rate that scorched 500 acres by 8 p.m. Monday and had reached 10,000 acres — with zero containment — by midnight, according to KTLA.

Accuweather reported at 1 a.m. that the blaze had claimed 25,000 acres.

More than 250,000 customers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties were without power Monday night, and Southern California Edison crews were working desperately to restore service to as many customers as possible. The utility was unable to estimate when power would be restored in any given area.

Area schools will be closed Tuesday.

The Red Cross was advising people who are without power and not under an evacuation order to use flashlights instead of candles.

One fatality, as a result of a car crash, has been reported.

Residents who are not under the mandatory evacuation order are being advised to leave the area anyway because of the rapid spread of the fire.


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