(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
A fast-moving wildfire whipped by hot, dry Santa Ana winds destroyed hundreds of homes in and around Ventura, California, on Tuesday as thousands of residents were forced to flee ahead of the flames.
The blaze, dubbed the Thomas Fire, broke out on Monday evening in the foothills above Ventura. Winds quickly drove it west into the city some 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
By Tuesday evening it remained zero percent contained, and had charred more than 50,000 acres, fire officials said.
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, freeing state funds and resources to assist the more than 1,000 firefighters battling to save homes from the conflagration.