Ventura fire: Southern California grapples with several infernos

Ventura, California (CNN) Burning up with extreme rate and ferocity, a flurry of wildfires torched more than 65,000 acres in Southern California, seeing as firefighters struggled to regulate the simultaneous infernos.

Strong Santa Ana winds and extremely dry conditions fueled at least five wildfires Tuesday, marking what has been a devastating year for fires on California.

The most recent fires forced tens of thousands to flee their homes, burned down more than a hundred buildings and triggered power outages in your community.

After a slowdown of Santa Ana’s fire Tuesday night, the winds are expected to choose back up Wednesday into Thursday, that could complicate firefighting efforts.

The greatest of the blazes, called the Thomas Fire, spanned 50,500 acres (about 78 square miles) in Ventura County, which sits just simply north of LA. The fire was at 0% containment by Tuesday night.

In Ventura, a city greater than 100,000 on the Pacific coast, more than a quarter of its residents (38,000 people), have been told to evacuate. About 150 structures, including homes and an evacuated Ventura hospital, have been destroyed.

In LA, another fire called the Creek Fire went from 4,000 acres to 11,000 in a matter of hours Tuesday.

“We be prepared to be out right here all week fighting and containing this fire,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The fires spewed so many smoke that they were captured in a NASA photograph from space.

A NASA image from space reveals the Southern California wildfires.

Latest developments

• Curfew enacted: On Tuesday, metropolis of Ventura declared a daily curfew, starting 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The curfew is to protect residents and stop crime such as looting in the evacuation areas, metropolis said.

• Fire jumps freeway: The Thomas Fire was captured reaching the 101 freeway, north of Ventura, and even jumping across to the various other side of the freeway.

• Blazing quickly: The Thomas Fire was burning up at practically an acre per second Tuesday. At that rate, it would have covered Manhattan’s Central Recreation area in about 14 minutes.

• Mass exodus: Mayor Garcetti said about 150,000 people in LA were affected by evacuation orders for the Creek Fire near Sylmar and Lake Look at Terrace.

• Power outage: About 43,000 homes happen to be without power, according to Southern California Edison Tuesday nighttime. More outages are feasible because flames were burning up along power transmission paths, a spokeswoman said.

At least five homes considered rubble after #VenturaFire rolled through. A 360 watch from just one single street. This is some of Heidelberg ave. pic.twitter.com/DkGjw3N8Tp – Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) December 5, 2017

• State response: Gov. Jerry Brown declared an emergency for Ventura County, freeing state resources such as the National Guard to aid response efforts.

• Other fires: The Rye Fire near Santa Clarita in LA County grew to about 5,000 acres and was 5% contained. That fire was spotted near to the Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.

⚡️ A post shared by Killamobil (@killamobil) on Dec 5, 2017 at 3:25pm PST

In San Bernardino County, two more compact fires sprang up. One is normally fully contained as the Minor Mountain fire, at 100 acres, is 0% contained.

‘Everything I have… is gone’

The fire had torn through neighborhoods, razing homes to the bottom, reducing them to gray smoldering ashes. It also burned Vista del Mar Hospital , an 82-bed mental health service in northwestern Ventura, that was fully evacuated two time before, county fire engineer Richard Macklin said.

Photos: Wildfire spreads in Southern California A flat complex burns as a wildfire rages in Ventura, California, on Tuesday, December 5. The Thomas Fire began north of Santa Paula, California, on Monday nighttime and has spread into the edges of Ventura, a metropolis greater than 100,000 people positioned on the Pacific coast. A large number of buildings have been destroyed in Ventura County, and thousands of folks experienced to evacuate their homes. Hide Caption 1 of 9 Photographs: Wildfire spreads in Southern California Smoke billows over Ventura on December 5. Hide Caption 2 of 9 Photographs: Wildfire spreads in Southern California A guy watches as the Thomas Fire burns in Ventura on December 5. Hide Caption 3 of 9 Photographs: Wildfire spreads in Southern California A firefighter gets results to put out a blaze in Santa Paula early on December 5. Hide Caption 4 of 9 Photographs: Wildfire spreads in Southern California The fire burned 31,000 acres in the first nine time. Hide Caption 5 of 9 Photographs: Wildfire spreads in Southern California A female evacuates her home as the fire burns in Santa Paula on December 5. Hide Caption 6 of 9 Photographs: Wildfire spreads in Southern California Firefighters battle the fire as it burns near homes in Santa Paula on December 5. Hide Caption 7 of 9 Photographs: Wildfire spreads in Southern California A guy prepares to evacuate his Santa Paula home on December 5. Hide Caption 8 of 9 Photographs: Wildfire spreads in Southern California Firefighters function to put out a blaze engulfing homes in Ventura. The fast-moving fire forced sheriff’s deputies to scramble into neighborhoods and knock on doorways to warn residents to evacuate. Hide Caption 9 of 9

Residents who had to evacuate from their homes described tense moments as being the fires rapidly approached.

“The embers from the trees were dropping on our automobiles,” said Mary Robinson, a Ventura resident, who fled Monday nighttime. “We’re thus blessed that people still have a house. I cannot believe it, for the reason that fire was so close.”

Another Ventura resident, Samantha Wells-Zuniga escaped with her family and watched her entire apartment complex called the Hawaiia Village, burn down.

Speaking through tears, the girl told CNN affiliate KABC , “We have been watching all these disasters on Television, you really don’t believe about when it happens for you, and what do you pack for the reason that moment?”

They escaped with a few Christmas presents.

“Now, everything that I have, except for my lovely family, is fully gone,” she said through tears.

The Thomas fire jumped to thousands of acres with startling speed as Santa Ana winds, blowing as fast as 35 to 50 mph, carried its embers. The fire quickly devoured dry chaparral, as the county has been in a period of moderate drought

Satellite images show how fast it lit up neighborhoods during the night.

The explosive nature of the #ThomasFire can be seen on nighttime satellite imagery. https://t.co/9ZCzuOOF4J pic.twitter.com/vDtcea7vem – CNN Weather Center (@CNNweather) December 5, 2017

The winds were part of the season’s ” strongest and longest” Santa Ana event . The Santa Anas are good, dry winds that high-pressure systems press from east to west, from the mountains and desert areas into the LA area.

A red-flag caution, which is for extreme weather conditions that might lead to wildfires, is in effect until 8 p.m. PT Friday.

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