Thomas Fire grows, continues to threaten Ventura County residents and homes

Posted at 7:36 AM, Dec 06, 2017

(KGTV) - Crews are continuing to battle strong wind conditions and rough terrain in an effort to put out a massive wildfire in Ventura County that has forced hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes.

Cal Fire officials said the Thomas Fire, which erupted early Monday evening in the Santa Paula area, has burned 90,000 acres, with zero containment, and is threatening 12,000 structures as of Wednesday.

Mandatory evacuations and numerous school and road closures have been in place since the fire began.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Thomas Fire coverage map, evacuation zones

CNN reported the Thomas Fire jumped the 101 freeway on Tuesday, burning at a rate of nearly one acre per second. At that speed, the blaze would have covered New York City's Central Park in 15 minutes.

Thousands of customers in the area were left without power Tuesday night, and Southern California Edison said more outages might be possible as flames burn near power transmission paths.

RELATED: Southern California wildfires: What you need to know

According to CNN, Ventura city officials declared a daily curfew, beginning 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., to protect residents and prevent crime such as looting in the evacuation areas.

The Thomas Fire is being driven by Santa Ana winds that are considered the season's "strongest and longest." A Red Flag warning for the region remains in effect into at least Friday evening.

Cal Fire says there are nearly 1,800 firefighters battling the devastating fire.

Detailed evacuation information and road closures are being updated on the ReadyVenturaCounty website.

While no injuries were immediately reported, one person was killed in a vehicle crash while trying to evacuate, authorities said.