The massive Thomas Fire in Ventura County, California has now grown to 50,000 acres with no containment reported. According to Cal Fire, on December 5, the blaze was located at Highways 150 and 126, north of Santa Paula, a community of about 30,000 people.
You can see a map below from CalFire for the mandatory evacuations due to the Thomas Fire. CNN reported that thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes because of what the network “called an immense, incredibly fast-moving brush fire pushed by howling Santa Ana winds” that “scorched parts of Ventura County.” CNN reported that some homes were on fire in the City of Ventura.
There are some voluntary evacuations. They are for those “residents in the City of Ventura south of Loma Vista, east of Day Road, West of Victoria Avenue and north of Telegraph Road,” CalFire reports. “Residents in the City of Ventura, east of Victoria north of Loma Vista South of Foothill west of Wells Road.”
The Ventura County Fire was moving incredibly rapidly. According to CNN, “By early Tuesday (December 5), the fire was burning at a rate of nearly an acre per second. At that speed, it would have covered Manhattan’s Central Park in about 15 minutes.” CalFire lists the following evacuation shelters for what is technically called the Thomas Fire:
Ventura County Fairgrounds at Miners Building (Includes an Animal Shelter for all types of animals.) – 10 W Harbor Blvd, Ventura, CA 93001
Nordhoff High School -1401 Maricopa Hwy, Ojai, CA 93023
Oxnard College Gymnasium – Open 12/5/17, 0700
CalFire reports that the fire started around 6:30 p.m. on December 4 and responding agencies are CAL FIRE, Ventura County Fire, City of Ventura, Los Padres National Forest, and the Ventura County Sheriff. Road closures were listed on December 5 as continuing to impact Highway 150 and Highway 33, as well as many other city and county roads.
Per California Highway Patrol, the following roads were closed:
Hard Closure- SR-150 at Reeves Road (east end Ojai Valley)
Hard Closure – SR-150 at Stonegate (Santa Paula)
Hard Closure – SR 150 at Telegraph Road (Santa Paula)
Hard Closure – SR 150 at Richmond Road (Santa Paula)
Hard Closure – Foothill Road at Olive/Cummings/Wells/Briggs (Santa Paula/Ventura area)
The following school closures were listed on December 5:
Ventura Unified School District – All schools will be closed 12/5/17.
Hueneme Elementary School District – All schools will be closed 12/5/17.
Santa Paula School Districts – All schools will be closed 12/5/17.
Ventura Community College – Closed 12/5/17
Thomas Aquinas College – Closed 12/5/17
Mesa Union School District – Closed 12/5/17
Briggs School District – Closed 12/5/17
Mupu School District – Closed 12/5/17
Oxnard Elementary School District – Closed 12/5/17
All Ventura County Office of Education Schools – Closed 12/5/17 Santa Clara Elementary (20030 East Telegraph Road, Santa Paula) – Closed 12/5/17
You can see active fires in California via the CalFire updated web map:
The Thomas Fire is just one of three wildfires that ignited in Southern California. “Three major fires are raging in Southern California. The first, the Thomas fire in Ventura County, started last night and exploded overnight. The second, the Creek fire, started at 4 a.m. near Sylmar. A third fire, the Rye fire, erupted in Santa Clarita shortly before 10 a.m.” December 5, according to The Los Angeles Times. California’s governor has declared a state of emergency for Ventura County.