Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Global | By Enrique Rogers

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

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

Almost 8,000 homes have been evacuated in southern California after ferocious winds whipped up an explosive wildfire that could soon threaten a city of more than 100,000. Soon after, the hospital was "razed to the ground" by the fire, according to a local news report.

Ventura County officials said about 500 firefighters were now battling the blaze, known as the Thomas Fire, and more were being deployed.

The blaze broke out on Monday evening east of Santa Paula, which is about 60 miles north-west of Los Angeles. More than 27,000 people were evacuated and one firefighter suffered bumps and bruises in a vehicle accident in Ventura County. 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. But the Santa Ana winds could persist into Friday or Saturday, which would likely mean an extension of both warnings. Numerous evacuated homes were in that city. "Really, Mother Nature is going to decide when we have the ability to put it out".

At least two structures have burned so far, officials said.

"The fire growth is just absolutely exponential", Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said.

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Winds exceeding 40mph and gusts of more than 60mph have been reported in the area and were expected to continue, the National Weather Service said.

The fire also struck some key transmission lines, knocking out power to tens of thousands of customers.

High winds continued to fuel the Thomas Wildfire in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, on Tuesday.

Los Angeles County firefighters will send a strike team to the Malibu area Monday morning, putting five fire engines and about 25 firefighters into the heart of the fire-prone Santa Monica Mountains.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

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