SANTA PAULA, Calif. (AP) — Ferocious winds in Southern California whipped up an explosive wildfire, which forced more than 600 homes to evacuate.
Fire officials say the blaze, dubbed the Thomas Fire, broke out Monday east of Santa Paula, which is about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The flames reached nearly 8 square miles just hours later.READ MORE: Fremont Police Release Body Cam Footage In Fatal Shooting Of Suspect On Highway 84
Officials say one person has died in an auto accident related to the fire, but did not give any details.
Authorities say Ventura, a city of over 100,000 people 12 miles away, is expected to feel the effects of the fire soon.READ MORE: Antioch Police Officer Shoots Man With Knife; Man In Stable Condition
Thomas Aquinas College, a school with about 350 students, has also been evacuated.
The National Weather Service says winds of 43 mph with gusts over 60 mph have been reported in the area and are expected to continue.
Sheriff’s officials say two structures have burned so far. It wasn’t clear what they were.
Evacuation centers have been set up at the Ventura Fairgrounds in Ventura and Nordoff high school in Ojai, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.MORE NEWS: Facebook Decision on Trump Suspension Delayed as Comments Flood In
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