Fast-Moving #ThomasFire Scorches 55,000 Acres, 0 Percent Contained

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes due to a fast-moving wildfire in Ventura County. Fire officials say at least 55,000 acres have been charred by the Thomas Fire since it broke out yesterday and is zero percent contained. More than 150 structures have been destroyed. Fire officials haven't said whether those were homes or businesses. 

More than 27,000 people were evacuated from their residences as more than 8,000 homes in Ventura County were under mandatory evacuation. At least 100 sheriff's office personnel have been used to help evacuate everyone. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Ventura County Tuesday morning because of the Thomas Fire. 

“This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got,” Brown said. “It's critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so.”

Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen says around 500 firefighters were battling the blaze and they expected help from fixed wing aircraft and water-dropping helicopters today. 

Firefighters from the Bay Area are coming down to Southern California to help battle the blaze. Fire officials say an Alameda County strike team, which includes firefighters from Oakland, Hayward and Fremont will be coming down to help. They say it's the least they could do after dozens of fire teams went up to Northern California to help battle the recent North Bay wildfires. 

Evacuation centers have been set up at the following location for Ventura County residents displaced by the fire:

  • Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura
  • Nordoff High School in Ojai
  • Oxnard College Gymnasium
  • Santa Paula Community Center. 

One person was killed in a car crash that was linked to the fire. Authorities say that person was attempting to escape the flames at the time. 

The fire reportedly started near Highway 150 on Monday night, and quickly spread into Santa Paula thanks to gusting Santa Ana winds. 

Power outages across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties have been reported, with up to 200,000 customers affected. Fire officials warned that conditions were worsening as Santa Ana winds strengthen through Tuesday. 

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