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Thomas Fire Erupts Near Ventura, California

The Thomas Fire, a blaze that started late Monday night, the 4th of December has grown rapidly due to strong winds and extremely dry air. Elevated, Critical and Extreme fire danger was expected and forecast from the NWS in Los Angeles.

“The prospects for containment are not good,” said Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen at an early Tuesday morning briefing. “Really Mother Nature is going to decide.”

About 500 firefighters were either on the scene or en route. Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters were expected to begin to attack the fire at day, according to readyventuracounty.org.

Details: As of Tuesday Morning.
Cause – The cause of the fire is unknown.
Acreage – 31,000
Containment  – 0%
Structures burned or destroyed – 150
Injuries – 1 (firefighter injury)
Fatalities – 1 (caused from a roll-over car crash as a resident was evacuating)

The wildfire quickly grew to nearly 50 square miles in less than 12 hours, prompting evacuations in the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura. Evacuation shelters were set up at Nordhoff High School in Ojai and at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Unfortunately extremely dry air and high winds are again going to be across the SoCal region today and through the rest of the week.

Low dewpoints and low humidity values are leading to critical fire danger.

The strong winds will also stay with us through Thursday in Southern California. Wind gusts could be as high as 60 mph in some areas and the Santa Ana winds continue to develop.

The highest level of fire danger is in place through the day today for Southern California. Be conscious of what you are doing outside through he rest of this week. A simple activity like mowing your lawn could spark a flame that could grow rapidly out of control.

Wednesday’s fire danger is still at the critical threshold, so again, be aware of outdoor activities that may lead to the ignition of a fire.

The National Weather Service warned Monday afternoon these strong Santa Ana winds, combined with very low humidity, provided an ideal setup for “very rapid fire growth.” The strongest and longest-duration Santa Ana winds of the season, so far, were expected to continue through Thursday.”

At least 263,000 customers were without power when the fire affected Southern California Edison transmission lines in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, from the cities of Santa Barbara to Oxnard.

Continue to follow this story through this week as we get more information in.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Andy Stein 

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