Almost 8,000 homes have been evacuated in southern California after ferocious winds whipped up an explosive wildfire that could soon threaten a city of more than 100,000. Authorities initially reported one death, but then retracted that, saying a dead dog but no person was found in an overturned vehicle.
Evacuation orders were expanded to include homes in Ventura, a city 12 miles south-west of Santa Paula, with more than 100,000 residents.
The blaze broke out on Monday evening east of Santa Paula, which is about 60 miles north-west of Los Angeles. "All that firefighters can do when we have winds like this is get out ahead, evacuate people, and protect structures". Numerous evacuated homes were in that city. The flames were driven by Southern California's dry and gusty Santa Ana winds, which have contributed to some of the region's most disastrous wildfires. The fire also destroyed two structures, though the nature of the structures could not be confirmed, Ventura County Fire Sgt. Eric Buschow told The Washington Post.
The gusty conditions are expected to shift toward Southern California on Monday and last through Thursday, with some areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties possibly experiencing isolated gusts as high as 80 miles per hour.
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"We've been here nearly 30 years we've gone through floods, gone through fires, it's just the wind, you don't know where it's going to go", added Chula Casas.
A fast moving wildfire engulfed an estimated 25,000 acres in less than seven hours in Southern California's Santa Barbara and Ventura counties on December 5.