Wildfire spreads in Southern California


"During the peak of the Santa Anas on Monday, there is the potential for damaging wind gusts of between 50-70 miles per hour across wind-prone areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with isolated gusts of 80 mph possible in the mountains, " the NWS Red Flag Advisory intoned.

Photo Downtown Santa Paula, Calif., was darkened by a power outage Tuesday morning, as smoke from the Thomas Fire rose in the distance. "All that firefighters can do when we have winds like this is get out ahead, evacuate people, and protect structures". Most of the evacuated homes were in that city.

One person was killed in a auto crash while trying to evacuate from the fires, Ventura County Fire chief Mark Lorenzen said in a news conference, according to CNN.

The winds were pushing it toward Santa Paula, a city of some 30,000 people about 97km northwest of Los Angeles. The fire also destroyed two structures, though the nature of the structures could not be confirmed, Ventura County Fire Sgt. Eric Buschow told The Washington Post.

Firefighters from the Alameda County Fire Department are on their way to Southern California to help crews battle a vicious, fast-moving wildfire.

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"I'm not going to wait around for someone to come rescue me so I'm outta here", said June Byrum.

Four helicopters were making water drops to fight the fire but by 9:30 p.m. local time but were grounded after conditions were deemed unsafe for them to fly at night.

Adding to the difficulty of fighting this fire, the National Weather Service predicts continued high winds and low humidity throughout the week.

The fire took hold in the early evening in southern California's Ventura county and burned through 10,000 acres within just a few hours.