The Santa Anas are howling in Ventura and Los Angeles right now, fueling a massive fire that nuclear in an incredibly short period of time. The Thomas Fire was first reported on Monday evening at Steckel Park, a few miles north of Santa Paula.
According to CNN‘s coverage, soon after it started, the Thomas fire was burning an acre every second. By Tuesday afternoon, it had grown to over 50,000 acres and firefighters weren’t able to control it. “The fire is still out of control and structures continue to be threatened throughout the fire area,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said.
Some 27,000 people have been issued mandatory evacuation notices in Ventura County and nearly 200 buildings have burned to the ground, including the Vista del Mar Hospital, a mental health facility. It was evacuated just two hours before it burned.
The Thomas Fire isn’t the only one, either. Three others relatively nearby forced thousands to flee their homes. “Three more fires began on Tuesday. One in Los Angeles County quickly grew to encompass more than 11,000 acres and destroyed more than 30 structures,” the New York Times reported. “Another, in San Bernardino County, injured three people as it burned 100 acres of vegetation. And a fourth, near Santa Clarita, tore through at least 1,000 acres, forcing the evacuation of a trailer park and several schools.”
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Ventura County. “This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we’ll continue to attack it with all we’ve got,” Governor Brown said in a statement. “It’s critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so.”
The weather forecast looks dire, at least for the next few days. Dry conditions and high winds are expected through Thursday. “It’s a very difficult moment, but we will get through this,” said The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. “We are a resilient city, we are a strong city, we are a capable city.”