Hundreds evacuated after massive brush-fire burns through parts of California

06 December, 2017, 01:16 | Author: Brenda Erickson

Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes north of Los Angeles as a fast-moving wildfire rips through the area.

The fire chief said one death had been reported.

Firefighters battle the fire as it burns near homes in Santa Paula on December 5.

Now it is threatening the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura, officials say. Lorenzen added that all firefighters can do at this stage is try and get ahead of the fire and protect structures. Numerous evacuated homes were in that city. The flames reached nearly 8 square miles just hours later, and before midnight on the West Coast it had doubled in size to almost 16 square miles.

"It was just exponential, huge growth because the winds, 50 mile an hour out of the east, were just pushing it and growing it very, very large, very quickly", Lorenzen said shortly after sunrise.

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A high wind warning also remained in effect Tuesday, with the red flag warning set to expire late Thursday night and the high wind warning expected to expire Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

"This will likely be the strongest and longest duration santa ana wind event we have seen so far this season", the weather service said.

The Southern California Edison power company said about 263,000 customers were without electricity in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties as of early Tuesday morning, after the fire torched a key supply line in the region.

The gusty conditions are expected to shift toward Southern California on Monday and last through Thursday, with some areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties possibly experiencing isolated gusts as high as 80 miles per hour.

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

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