National News

Gov. Brown Declares State of Emergency in Ventura County During Thomas Fire

Posted December 5, 2017 3:55 p.m. EST

— Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Ventura County as the Thomas Fire burns in several cities there.

The blaze, which began in Santa Paula about 6:30 p.m. Monday, has burned about 45,500 acres and has prompted the evacuations of about 7,700 homes in the area.

"The fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got," Brown said in his declaration. "It is critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so."

The wind-whipped blaze has also destroyed about 150 structures and schools in several Ventura County districts are closed Tuesday.

Highway 150 and Highway 33 are affected by the blaze.

Gusty Santa Ana winds have created difficult conditions for the 1,000 firefighters battling the erratic blaze. Forecasters expected this wind event to be the strongest and longest of the season.

Two other brush fires are burning in Southern California Tuesday. The Creek Fire in Sylmar has burned about 4,000 acres and the Rye Fire, which began Tuesday morning has burned about 200 acres in Santa Clarita.