1 dead, thousands threatened by California wildfire

1 dead, thousands threatened by California wildfire
# 05 December 2017 17:03 (UTC +04:00)

One person has died and tens of thousands of others have been forced to flee their homes in southern California as weather conditions accelerate a growing wildfire, authorities said early Tuesday, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.

The Thomas Fire is now estimated to span 31,000 acres and is being fueled by strong winds as it races through the city of Ventura.

The fire is out of control and homes and buildings continue to be in danger throughout the area, Ventura County said on its website.

So far, 27,000 people have evacuated the area, ​authorities said before issuing an expanded mandatory evacuation order that will likely drive up that number.

Ventura County Sheriff Jeff Dean urged residents to abide by the evacuation orders during a late Monday night press conference.

“We saw the disasters and the losses that happened up north in Sonoma and this is a fast, very dangerous moving fire,” he said, referring to wildfires that ravaged parts of northern California earlier this year.

Firefighters have been stymied by roaring winds that have hit between 25 and 50 miles per hour (40 to 65 kilometers per hour), sending burning embers swirling across wide expanses. And the intensity of the fire has thwarted access attempts, authorities said.

“The prospects for containment really are not good. Really, Mother Nature is going to decide when we have the ability to put it out because it is pushing hard with the wind,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said as firefighters prepared to battle the inferno overnight.

Fixed wing aircraft and helicopters are expected to combat the fire at first light.