Dramatic images of the fire burning near Ventura
The wind-driven Thomas Fire grew to 65,000 acres and was still 0 percent contained by Wednesday morning.
The fast-moving blaze, fueled by Santa Ana winds, started Monday night near Thomas Aquinas College on Ojai Road north of Santa Paula.
Officials said Tuesday that the fire had destroyed about 150 structures, and another 12,000 structures remained threatened. The fire forced the evacuation of at least 27,000 people. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
About 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, flames had crested the ridge above Mondo’s Beach, Faria Beach and Solimar Beach west of Ventura, and were burning above Highway 101. In places, the fire had jumped Highway 101 and was burning between the freeway and Old Coast Highway, but it was not immediately clear whether any of the ocean-front homes in the area were threatened.
Nearly 1,800 firefighters were assigned to the blaze, backed by fleets of aircraft and bulldozers, including two night-flying helicopters.
The city of Ventura declared an overnight curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., starting Tuesday night. It was put in place to prevent crimes, such as looting in evacuated areas, and will be in effect “until no longer necessary,” the city posted on its Facebook page.
“During this curfew time, no person shall be upon the public street, avenue, alley, park, or other public place or unimproved public realty” in the city limits, the city said.
Ventura County has a red flag warning – signifying the risks of strong winds and low relative humidity – in effect through Thursday night, and it could be extended if winds keep up, according to the National Weather Service.
“This will likely be the strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season. If fire ignition occurs, there will be the potential for very rapid fire spread, long range spotting, and extreme fire behavior,” the warning states.
Coastal and valley areas in Ventura and Los Angeles counties could have gusts up to 60 mph and mountain areas could have gusts up to 80 mph, the National Weather Service said in a special weather statement.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Ventura County. The cities of Ventura and Santa Paula, as well as Ventura County, have all declared local emergencies in response to the fire.
Santa Barbara County Public Health and Air Pollution Control District officials issued an air quality warning Tuesday as smoke and ash from the Thomas Fire blew into the area. Everyone should limit their outdoor time, especially people with heart or lung disease including asthma, older adults, and children, officials said.
Air quality conditions can be checked online here.
Southern California Edison said 13 12-kilovolt circuits were out in the fire area and two transmission lines were burned.
Some customers in the fire-impacted area should be prepared to be without power for several days because of the damage, and transmission lines will continue to be threatened, officials said in an Outage Center message.
“A local transmission emergency was declared by the California Independent System Operator due to the loss of critical transmission lines serving the Ventura and Santa Barbara area, and has requested additional generation units to support restoration of power for the impacted area,” Southern California Edison said.
As a result of the fire and power outages, the Casitas Municipal Water District published notices on its website Tuesday advising customers to used boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking as a safety precaution, as the outages and fire have impacted drinking water for Ventura, Foster Park, Casitas Springs and the Upper Ojai Valley.
The Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center evacuated most of its dogs and cats to a boarding facility and the Santa Paula Airport Monday night and Tuesday, and is seeking donations of crates, food and cash to help with the operation.
They also expect an influx of stray animals this week as a result of the fire and evacuations.
The United Way of Ventura County has set up a Thomas Fire Fund and texting campaign to raise money for victims of the wildfire.
Donations can be made by texting UWVC to 41444, by calling 805-485-6288, and through the organization’s website here. Checks can be sent to the United Way office, at 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100, Ventura, CA, 93003, with “Thomas Fire Fund” in the memo line.
Noozhawk.com is a Santa Barbara-based news website. Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNewsand @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
▪ City of Santa Paula: Say Road north to Thomas Aquinas, Dickenson Ranch Road east to Santa Paula Creek
▪ City of Santa Paula: Monte Vista Street north to city limits, Foothill Road from Steckel to Peck Road to north of city limits
▪ Santa Paula unincorporated area toward Ventura: north of Foothill Road from Peck Road to Wells Road, including Wheeler Canyon, Aliso Canyon and Rancho Vista
▪ City of Ventura: Teloma Drive east to Brent Street, Telegraph Road north to north of Foothill Road
▪ City of Ventura: Victoria Road east to Hill Road, Telegraph Road north to Foothill Road
▪ City of Ventura: North Ashwood Avenue east to Hill Road, Telegraph Road north to Foothill Road
▪ City of Ventura: north of Foothill Road from Wells Road to Poli Street
▪ City of Ventura: north of Main Street from Seward Avenue to Highway 33 (includes entire Ventura Avenue area)
▪ Oak View: Boundary of Highway 33, Creek Road and Hermosa Road
▪ Entire community of Casitas Springs
▪ East Ojai Valley: Carne Road east to McAndrew Road, Reeves Road north to Thacher Road
▪ Upper Ojai Valley: Highway 150 from Dennison Grade east to Osborne Road and all residences north
▪ Ventura County North Coast Area: Boundary of Highway 33 on the north to Casitas Vista Road, northwest to Highway 150, Highway 150 (Casitas Pass Road) west to Highway 101 and south on Highway 101 (including Pacific Coast Highway) to Emma Wood State Beach
Updated evacuation, shelter, road and school closure information can be found at readyventuracounty.org.
▪ City of Ventura: south of Loma Vista Road, east of Day Road, west of Victoria Avenue and north of Telegraph Road
▪ City of Ventura: east of Victoria Avenue, north of Loma Vista Road, south of Foohill Road, west of Wells Road
▪ All Ojai Valley residents not covered under the mandatory evacuation order
▪ City of Fillmore: Boundary of 2nd Street north to 4th Street and Island View Street east to Pole Creek
▪ City of Fillmore: Boundary of 4th Street on the south to Pole Canyon Road, Pole Canyon Road northeast to Goodenough Road, Goodenough Road south to 5th Street and 5th Street southeast to 4th Street
▪ City of Fillmore: Boundary of Highway 23 and the Santa Clara River south to Guiberson Road, Guiberson Road east to Torrey Road and Torrey Road north to the Santa Clara River
▪ 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
▪ Veteran’s Memorial Building, 511 2nd Street, Fillmore, CA 93015
▪ UC Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Multi Activity Center, 552 University Road, Isla Vista, CA 93117
▪ 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