Hundreds evacuated after massive brush-fire burns through parts of California

2017 California Wildfires

2017 California Wildfires

- Blistering Santa Ana winds will spread through Los Angeles and Orange counties Sunday night, with peak winds of 80 miles per hour possible in mountain locations Monday night, the National Weather Service warned Sunday.

Audio will be available later today. One of the blazes broke out Monday in Ventura County and grew wildly to more than 70 square miles (180 square kilometers) in a matter of hours, county Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said.

Photo Downtown Santa Paula, Calif., was darkened by a power outage Tuesday morning, as smoke from the Thomas Fire rose in the distance.

Firefighters were battling a wind-whipped brush fire in southern California on Tuesday that has left at least one person dead and destroyed more than 150 homes and businesses.

The Ventura County Fire Department said that thousands of homes were being evacuated overnight in East Ventura. More than 800 homes were evacuated there.

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"Due to the intensity of the fire, crews are having trouble making access and there are multiple reports of structures on fire".

Powerful gusts and dry weather locally mean the Orange County Fire Authority also has extra staff on duty and helicopters, bulldozers and other resources are in place here in case they're needed, Capt. Larry Kurtz said.

"The fire is still out of control and structures continue to be threatened throughout the fire area", county emergency officials said in statement. Thomas Aquinas College, with about 350 students, was evacuated.

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. The fire erupted near Santa Paula, a city of some 30,000 people about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.

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