A massive fire is burning in the area of Santa Paula, California, and hundreds of homes are under mandatory evacuation.
The Thomas Fire broke out Monday evening and as of about 10:30 p.m. PT, the fire had grown to over 10,000 acres. The fire was at 5,000 acres as of 10 p.m.
Officials have commented that the fire has a “rapid rate of spread” due to massive winds in the area. Gusts of 50 to 70 mph are occurring through Tuesday. Sustained winds of 30+ mph are also being reported.
Fire crews are currently focusing on structure protection and assisting with evacuations, as the fire has exploded to over 10,000 acres, according to fire officials. There are also reports of residents trapped in the fire lines.
The fire has knocked out power in both Santa Paula and Santa Barbara, along with a number of areas in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. At least 160,000 customers are without power, according to SoCal Edison.
The high winds are keeping most fire assisting planes grounded Monday evening. Planes are expected to be in the air to help fight the fire on Tuesday morning.
At least one death has been attributed to the fire, which occurred during a traffic accident.
A State of Emergency has been declared in Ventura County. About 500 firefighters are currently responding to the fire, which remains at 0% containment. It has consumed over 45,000 acres of land, fueled by the dry conditions and high winds. Early estimates indicate that about 150 structures have been destroyed. Evacuations are in place for over 27,000 people. (source) 3:09 p.m. December 5, 2017
The Thomas Fire has now consumed 55,000 acres of land. Nearly 8,000 homes have been evacuated. “The fire growth is just absolutely exponential,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said. “All that firefighters can do when we have winds like this is get out ahead, evacuate people, and protect structures.” (source) 5:33 p.m. ET December 5, 2017