A man waters the front of a building and takes a picture of flames approaching homes in Ventura, 4 December 2017. Photo: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times

By Sarah Parvini, Matt Hamilton, and Louis Sahagun
6 December 2017

(Los Angeles Times) – The fire that burned a path of destruction through Ventura County reached the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday night, with officials expecting that hundreds more homes had been lost in a blaze that continues to rage out of control.

The fire has consumed at least 65,500 acres, pushed by relentless Santa Ana winds that are expected to continue through Thursday.

The focus Wednesday, officials said, was keeping the fire out of the Ojai Valley while assessing the devastation in the cities of Ventura and Santa Paula.

Thousands of homes were still threatened by flames, 27,000 people had been forced to flee, a firefighter was injured and Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, as some 1,100 personnel continued to battle the blaze.

The fire was the worst of several major blazes across Southern California, including one in Bel-Air that closed the 405 Freeway on Wednesday, one in Angeles National Forest near Sylmar and another in the Santa Clarita Valley.

At least 150 structures — including one large apartment complex and the Vista Del Mar Hospital, a psychiatric facility — were consumed by flames. But Cal Fire suspects the true number is hundreds more; firefighters just haven’t been able to get into areas to know for sure. […]

Officials noted that “the wind has overwhelmed everything. … It’s driven the fire across all kinds of terrain.”

Fire officials on Wednesday stressed the importance of keeping the Thomas fire out of Ojai. [more]

Fire crews fight to protect Ojai; hundreds of homes are feared lost in Ventura County

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