Late at night on December 4th, a brush fire broke out near the city of Santa Paula, in Ventura Country, California. Fueled by hot, dry Santa Ana winds, the Southern California wildfire continued to spread on December 5th.
On the morning of December 5th, 33,000 acres were ablaze. But the fire continued to rip through the city of Ventura, a coastal city north of Los Angeles and south of Santa Barbara. By December 6th, 65,500 acres were engulfed in flames. The fire burned oil fields and cut a path to the Pacific Ocean, crossing the 101 Freeway in the process.
In Ventura, 27,000 people — about 30 percent of the city’s population — were forced to evacuate. To the north of Ventura, Claritas Springs also faced evacuation warnings. Several schools in Ventura County faced closures, as well as schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu district.
The fire is expected to spread farther north to the town of Ojai, but fire officials are working to keep the flames away. Currently, the blaze is reported at 0 percent containment.
Separate fires also broke out in Los Angeles Canyon. A wildfire in northern Los Angeles, by the affluent community of Bel-Air, engulfed the portion of the 405 Freeway near the Getty Center in flames on the morning of December 6th, and the area between Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard was ordered to evacuate. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, two other fires in Los Angeles County have spread across about 19,000 acres collectively.
The Southern California wildfires are a devastating natural disaster. If you wish to donate to help the victims of the fires, you can send money to the United Way of Ventura County via text message or on their website. Our thoughts are with all those who are affected by this tragedy.