Wildfire spreads in Southern California

Wildfire spreads in Southern California

The Ventura County Fire Department said over 27,000 people had been told to evacuate their homes and the fast-moving fire in the coastal county north of Los Angeles had grown to 31,000 acres (12,545 hectares).

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

Firefighters battled the rapidly growing blaze throughout Monday night trying to contain the flames, as thousands of residents evacuated their homes.

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Fire officials say the fire broke out Monday east of Santa Paula, which is about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Numerous evacuated homes were in that city. "Really, Mother Nature is going to decide when we have the ability to put it out because it is pushing hard with the wind", Lorenzen said.

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 National Weather Service said winds of 43 miles per hour with gusts over 60 miles per hour were reported in the area and were expected to continue. It grew to more than 100 sq km (40 sq miles) by the early hours of Tuesday, consuming vegetation that has not burned in decades, the Ventura county fire sergeant Eric Buschow said.

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At least two structures have already burned and power outages have been reported across the county.

Adding to the difficulty of fighting this fire, the National Weather Service predicts continued high winds and low humidity throughout the week.

Southern California Edison said almost 180,000 customers in the Ventura county area were without service.

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