Firestorm: #ThomasFire Raging | 2

Ventura County, California | A fast-moving brush fire ignited on Monday night, December 4, 2017, that was reported at 500 acres would soon turn into a runaway firestorm.  The fire started just North of Santa Paula near Highway 150.  The fire has burned into the City Limits of Ventura and heading towards Highway 33. The fire is currently estimated at 31,000 as of 0700 hours on Tuesday, December 5, 2017.  Strong easterly winds are pushing.  Some reports are saying that the fire is being pushed towards the ocean and how there is a lot of real estate between the City and sea.

Current fire conditions as of Tuesday, December 5, 2017. (Credit: VCFD_PIO)

Resources

There are 100 VCSO personnel with additional Law Enforcement personnel from Santa Paula and Ventura Police Departments and with the aid of CHP tasked with evacuations and closures.

500 Firefighters are on the fire-ground currently in fire attack operations with additional resources en route.

Fixed wing aircraft along with helicopters are also en route and will be on-scene, if not already while we update this post to help with fire attack operations. (They were due to deploy at daybreak).

Rate of Spread

12/5/2017:

The fire is now deemed a Firestorm (we have officially classified it as one).  Fire crews are having difficulty accessing certain areas due to the fire intensity. There is a 0% containment at this time.  Fire is deemed to have destroyed 31,000 acres of land. There is an unknown amount of damage to structures, vehicles and other valued assets.

12/4/2017:

50 acres per minute and about an acre a second.  For anyone who knows about the rate of spread – that is ridiculously fast and more or less, a firestorm.  This is now a wind-drive fire with reports of up to 25 – 30 miles per hour. (12/4/2017)

Fire is now reported at 25,000 acres. (12/4/2017 – 2357 hours)

Tuesday’s Fire Map on December 5, 2017. (Credit: VCFD_PIO)

Current Impacts

Current impacts are events occurring in real-time and information released from various sources related to fire operations, what is being seen on the fire ground, what is being said on Social Media.

12/5/2017:

The fire has been listed as out-of-control with some structures reported as being on fire, while others are being threatened.  (0700 hours)

Cities Ventura and Santa Paula, along with the County of Ventura have proclaimed local emergencies. (0700 hours)

Flames from the #ThomasFire can be seen from takeoff at LAX (0015 hours) reported by one air traveler.

Major power line and SoCal Edison two substations supplying City of Ventura power will be seriously compromised by fire in the next 20 minutes. (0003  hours)

#MobileHomeParkFires. Brush fire call reported at Shell Road & Highway 33.  Mobile home park now on fire with propane tanks exploding.  Fire now in the foothills of Ventura, now impacted by fire.  Erratic fire reported. (0003 hours)

12/4/2017:

The fire has impacted Wheeler Ridge, Adams Canyon, Harmon Canyon (eastern edge of Ventura), passed Victoria  (2256 hours).

Due to power lines near Santa Paula in Ventura County, power outages have been reported in Santa Barbara with 51,000 + customers and 106,000 + customers in Ventura County.

Fremont Canyon Weather Station reports sustained winds of 47 MPH (from the ENE) with gusts to 69 MPH. RH:13% Temp: 52.0* (2351 hours)

 #CedarFire.  New spot fire. Believed to be in Grant Park in downtown Ventura.  Is well ahead of the #ThomasFire head at 50 acres. 4 Type 1 immediate need for strike teams for structure protection off of Polis Street. (2331 hours)

Structures are burning on Sexton Canyon Road and in Ondulando (2350 hours).

Fire is burning directly across from State Beaches in the hills above downtown Ventura. (2347 hours)

Fire can be seen from the NWS Los Angeles (weather service) building. (12/4/2017 – 2315 hours).

Mandatory Evacuations

12/5/2017:

Ventura County Sheriff Office currently working on hospital evacuation. (0011 hours)

12/4/2017:

Mandatory evacuations were issued and in effect by the Ventura County Sheriff Office for the following areas:

436 homes located East of Dickenson Road; North of Monte Vista Drive (along Highway 150), South of Thomas Aquinas College to area of Bridge Road.

154 homes located West of Dickenson Road; West of Foothill Road and West to Wheeler Canyon Road.

213 homes located North of Highway 150 from Koehlgstein Road; West to Dennison Grade; North to Reeves Road; East to McAndrew Road; North to Grand Avenue.

The Thomas Aquinas College has stated all precautionary evacuations of their campus has been completed; everyone is okay and safe.

Shelters

12/5/2017:

Ventura County Fairgrounds @ Miners Building.  For all types/sizes of animals.  10 West Harbor Blvd., Ventura, CA  93001. (Opened as of 12/4/2017)

Nordhoff High School.  1401 Maricopa Highway, Ojai, CA 93023. (Opened as of 12/4/2017)

Oxnard College Gym. No address known. (Opened 12/5/2017 @ 0700 hours)

Road Closures

12/4/2017:

Soft Closures require resident to present Photo ID to gain access to their homes. (per the VCSO):  Wheeler Canyon Road @ Foothill Road; Highway 150 @ Reeves Road; Highway 150 @ Santa Barbara Street.

Hard Closures are for Public Safety personnel only but all drivers should avoid this area to allow for emergency response and fire suppression resources room to work and access.  Highway 150 @ Sisar Road and @ Stonegate Road.  Wells Road @ Foothill Road and Peck Road @ Foothill Road.

A firestorm is defined as a raging fire of great intensity, that spreads rapidly. Taken on Monday, December 4, 2017. (Photo Credit: VCFD_PIO)

Fatalities

One person was reported by the Fire Department as involved in a motor-vehicle accident or MVA related to the fire.

Updates

We will be providing updates as we receive them. Due to the fluid of this incident, we will be making updates throughout the day and evening until it is has been fully contained and put out.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to those fighting the fire, incident command, in the air and on the ground, EMS, Law Enforcement and all 1st Responders involved directly/indirectly.  We are also thinking of those who are fleeing their homes and pray that you all evacuate safely.  Your lives matter and cannot be replaced – but your “things” can be.  Please be safe friends no matter where your journeys may take you.

(c) 2017 The CA Fire Report – 12/5/2017 0800 hours PST

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