Palms are consumed in the Thomas fire in Ventura, California, 5 December 2017 Photo: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times

By Alene Tchekmedyian, Jaclyn Cosgrove, Ruben Vives, and Sonali Kohli
5 December 2017

(Los Angeles Times) – A fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into the city of Ventura early Tuesday, burning 45,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate.

At least 150 structures — including at least one large apartment complex and the Vista Del Mar Hospital, a psychiatric facility — were consumed by flames, and many more were threatened.

But the destruction appears to be much worse as the sun rose Tuesday, revealing fire sweeping through whole neighborhoods in the hills above Ventura.

There was no containment on the fire as of 7 a.m., with 1,000 firefighters battling the blaze and more on the way, said Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Tim Lochman. One helicopter was dropping water and authorities were hoping winds would die down so they could deploy fixed-wing aircraft soon, he said.

Around 7 a.m., the wind appeared to be pushing the fire east toward Camarillo and north toward Ojai, Lochman said.

The fire started near California State Highway 150 Monday evening and spread into Santa Paula. From there, the fire followed Foothill Road from Santa Paula to Ventura, taking out homes and winding along canyons in the process.

On Tuesday, firefighters will continue trying to save homes in Ventura, where flames are actively burning. They face a red-flag wind advisory that notes ridgeline winds of 35 to 45 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph. Winds are expected to decrease somewhat in the afternoon, said Chad Cook, Ventura County Fire Department division chief.

The fire hopscotched through hillside neighborhoods, burning some homes and sparing others. Some residents sensed the the worst might be over in the early hours of the morning when winds died down. But they picked up with a fury around daybreak, causing more destruction. [more]

Ventura wildfire rages over 45,000 acres, destroys more than 150 structures, triggers evacuation of 27,000


  1. Dennis Mitchell said...

    December even in LA should be wet.  


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