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The blaze was 0 percent contained Tuesday afternoon, and aircraft and helicopters were expected to attack the fire at daybreak.
There are more than 1,000 firefighters on scene, and 27,000 people have been evacuated, according to Ventura fire officials.
“The fire is still out of control and structures continue to be threatened throughout the fire area,” officials wrote on the Ventura County emergency website. “Due to the intensity of the fire, crews are having trouble making access and there are multiple reports of structures on fire.”
A mandatory evacuation order is in place for most of northern Ventura; a voluntary evacuation was ordered for Ventura residents living south of Loma Vista, east of Day Road, west of Victoria Avenue and north of Telegraph Road, as well as east of Victoria, north of Loma Vista, south of Foothill Boulevard and west of Wells Road.
The blaze, along with the Rye Fire near Santa Clarita and the Creek Fire near Sylmar, has caused power outages all over Southern California. As of 11 a.m., Southern California Edison estimated that about 30,000 total customers were affected by the outages, with 15,000 of those in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
According to the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, the fire had caused communications outages as well.
UC Santa Barbara tweeted that the outages were causing their online services to go down, including their Graduate Division Application System.
Dozens of homes were reported to be burning in the area of Foothill Boulevard in Ventura, and flames were observed behind the historic Ventura City Hall, at 501 Poli St. high above downtown.
Ventura County fire officials said Monday night that at least one victim was confirmed dead in a vehicle crash on Wheeler Canyon Road while fleeing the flames. Authorities did have a report of a fatal crash on Monday, but when sheriff’s deputies went to check it out, they did not find any dead people, according to Cal Fire spokesman Chris Elms. Elms added that authorities found a dead dog nearby that may have been involved in the crash.
A complete and updating list of evacuations, road closures, school closures and evacuation shelters can be found at readyventuracounty.org. That website also has information on how to donate to victims of the fire.
The fire was blamed for a massive power outage that darkened much of western Ventura County — including Santa Paula, Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura — as well as Santa Barbara County’s South Coast.
Between the two counties, the Southern California Edison outage map at one point estimated more than 160,000 customers were without electricity. Power was reported restored in Santa Barbara County just after 2 a.m.
The fast-moving blaze broke out shortly before 7 p.m. Monday in the area of Thomas Aquinas College, 10000 Ojai Road, and Steckel Park, 8080 Mistletoe Road. It was burning along both sides of Highway 150 north of Santa Paula.
Flames from what has been dubbed the Thomas Fire spread rapidly in all directions.
At 1 a.m. Tuesday, the fire was continuing to move primarily to the west and southwest, damaging structures in the Adams Canyon, Wheeler Canyon and Aliso Canyon areas, according to emergency radio traffic.
There were reports of multiple structures burning in Wheeler Canyon and elsewhere, and many others were being threatened.
Shortly after 11 p.m., flames were reported west of Sexton Canyon Road, moving toward Highway 33.
Thomas Aquinas College officials said students, faculty and staff were evacuated from the small Roman Catholic liberal arts school as a precaution, and Tuesday classes were canceled. All students were safe, the college reported.
“Incident commander expects this fire to impact the city of Ventura this evening,” the Ventura County Fire Department said in a tweet.
Shortly before midnight, fire officials were reporting some 1,000 homes in eastern Ventura being evacuated.
A separate spot fire along Koenigstein Road in the Upper Ojai Valley had blackened at least 200 acres and was expected to jump Highway 150 and head toward Sulphur Mountain.
Mandatory and voluntary evacuations were underway in neighborhoods along Highway 150, in the canyons to the west, and north of Santa Paula.
Fire officials were making contingency plans due to concern that the flames could threaten neighborhoods on the eastern edge of Ventura.
The Ventura County Fire Department was requesting help from surrounding firefighting agencies, and numerous strike teams of engines and other resources were on order or en route to the blaze.
Night-flying helicopters were requested from Los Angeles and adjacent agencies, but were being hampered by gusty wind conditions.
Winds along the ridgetops were estimated at 45-50 mph.
Highway 150 is closed between Denison Grade in Ojai and Stonegate Road in Santa Paula. Foothills Road is also closed.
A command post and evacuation center were being set up at the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 10 Harbor Blvd. in Ventura.
As a result of the blackout, the bright orange glow from the wildfire was clearly visible from the Montecito foothills late Monday.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that there was one confirmed fatality. This story has been updated to reflect the latest information from fire officials.
Noozhawk.com is a Santa Barbara-based news website. Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
▪ The entire community of Casitas Springs
▪ City of Ventura: Teloma Drive east to Brent Street, Telegraph Road north to north of Foothill Road
▪ East Ojai Valley: Carne Road east to McAndrew Road, Reeves Road north to Thacher Road
You can also consult the map at readyventuracounty.org. Areas outlined in red are under mandatory evacuation.
▪ City of Ventura south of Loma Vista, east of Day Road, west of Victoria Avenue and north of Telegraph Road
▪ City of Ventura north of Loma Vista, east of Victoria Avenue, south of Foothill and west of Wells Road
▪ 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 Highway, Ojai, CA 93023
▪ Oxnard College Gymnasium, 4000 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033
▪ Santa Paula Community Center, 530 W. Main St., Santa Paula, CA 93060
▪ Vassar Street at Maryville Avenue, city of Ventura
▪ Highway 150 at Reeves Road, east end of Ojai Valley
▪ Highway 150 at Stonegate Road, Santa Paula
▪ Highway 150 at Telegraph Road, Santa Paula
▪ Highway 150 at Richmond Road, Santa Paula
▪ Foothill Road at Olive Road, Cummings Road, Wells Road and Briggs Road, Santa Paula and Ventura area
▪ Ventura Unified School District
▪ Hueneme Elementary School District
▪ Santa Paula Unified School District
▪ Ventura College
▪ Thomas Aquinas College
▪ Mesa Union School District
▪ Briggs Elementary School District
▪ Mupu School District
▪ Oxnard School District
▪ Ventura County Office of Education schools (including Providence School)
▪ Santa Clara Elementary in Santa Paula
▪ Rio School District
▪ Ocean View School District
▪ Ojai Unified School District
▪ Oxnard Union High School District
▪ Santa Clara High School