Wildfire spreads in Southern California

Wildfire spreads in Southern California

The gusty conditions are expected to shift toward Southern California on Monday and last through Thursday, with some areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties possibly experiencing isolated gusts as high as 80 miles per hour. More than 800 homes were evacuated there.

"The fire growth is just absolutely exponential", the Ventura county fire chief, Mark Lorenzen, said.

Thomas Aquinas college, which has about 350 students, has also been evacuated, with students going to their own homes or to those of faculty and staff, the college said in a statement.

At least two structures have already burned and power outages have been reported across the county.

Authorities have given evacuation notices to "well over 30,000" residents in the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura.

The Ventura Country Fire Department in California posted this image of the Thomas Fire pushing its way toward East Ventura late Monday
Wildfire spreads in Southern California

CBS News producer Sean Gallitz said he could see an nearly unbroken fire line burning ferociously along the top of the hill side from nearly 20 miles away from on the 101 freeway.

However, the rapid spread of the blaze, the cause of which is not yet known, means that the city of Ventura, home to over 100,000 people, will soon feel its effects.

Almost 180,000 customers in the Ventura County lost power, and schools in the district were closed. The sheriff's office received its first reports at 6:24 p.m. Monday. Pacific Time, Buschow told The Post, and has moved "unbelievably fast" since then.

The National Weather Service said winds of 43 miles per hour with gusts over 60 miles per hour were reported in the area and were expected to continue.

Several hashtags about the fire, including #ThomasFire, #Ventura and #Santa Paula, were trending on Twitter early Tuesday morning, as people shared striking photos of the fast-moving blaze.

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