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Raging wildfire forces mass evacuations in California

05 Diciembre 2017

Some of Southern California's worst wildfires have occurred in the period between October and December, when Santa Ana winds whip up.

A wind-whipped fire in Ventura County rampaged through an estimated 2,500 acres Monday night, and was threatening the city of Santa Paula.

The fire - named the Thomas fire - was burning just south of Thomas Aquinas College.

Within about one hour, the fire grew from 50 to 500 acres, and hot embers were spread by the strong winds.

"Firefighter's priorities are structured defense and evacuations", the fire department tweeted.

And those crews may be on the clock for some time.

The winds were pushing it toward Santa Paula, a city of some 30,000 people about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The fire ignited above Steckel Park, which is located at 8080 Mistletoe Rd. off of Highway 150, according to the Santa Paula CERT Community Emergency Response Team.

Thousands of homes were without power in the area. The second shelter was at Nordhoff High School at 1401 Maricopa Highway in Ojai.

The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 150 in both directions as firefighters battled the blaze, NBC LA reported. Closer to San Diego, the strongest winds are expected during the day on Tuesday through the Inland Empire and east of I-15, though there is the potential for another round of strong gusts late Wednesday night into Thursday for San Diego county.

Dumas tells the Times that holiday decorations could pose an additional fire threat.