Thomas Fire in Ventura County, CA explodes overnight, mass evacuations and power outages

Thomas Fire in Ventura County, CA explodes overnight, mass evacuations and power outages

The Thomas Fire in Ventura County, California started on Monday, December 4, 2017 and exploded to 31 000 acres (12 545 ha) overnight, claiming the life of at least one person and burning at least 150 structures. The fire has so far forced evacuations of 27 000 people, caused massive power outages and is 0% contained early Tuesday morning, according to Ventura County fire officials.

As of 01:50 local time Tuesday, a total of 7 786 homes in the county are under mandatory evacuation and 27 000 people were evacuated, fire officials said.

At least one person was killed in a car crash as he was trying to flee from the rapidly spreading blaze. One firefighter was injured.

The fire has so far burned 150 structures, including Vista del Mar Hospital which was razed to the ground. All patients were evacuated.

All schools in Santa Paula were canceled Tuesday, as well as classes at the college. An evacuation shelter was set up at the Ventura County Fairgrounds and Nordhoff High School in Ojai. 

More than 180 000 customers were left without power in Ventura County and 83 000 in Santa Barbara. Southern California Edison spokeswoman Susan Cox said late Monday that the Thomas Fire had affected transmission line in the area and added that she can't estimate when the service might be restored.

Featured image credit: Ventura County Fire Department

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