Explosive Thomas Fire grows over 30,000 acres overnight near Ventura, California

Thousands of Southern California residents have been evacuated from their homes as firefighters continue to battle a rapidly growing wildfire enhanced by strong Santa Ana winds.

The blaze, located in Ventura County, has already encroached into the city limits of Ventura, home to over 109,000 residents and toward Highway 33 and continues to threaten many structures. Flames also spread toward the city of Santa Paula, home to about 30,000 people.

Santa Ana winds will continue to whip through Southern California through the remainder of this week, threatening to rapidly spread these blazes and any new fires that ignite.

More lives and homes will be threatened, and residents living in the Santa Ana wind-prone areas should prepare for the possibility of needing to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

“The winds will make it difficult to get air support into these wildfires,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said. “Helicopters may be able to aid firefighters, but the winds can be more problematic for larger aircraft.”

7:28 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Satellite imagery captures the heat signature of the Thomas and Creek Fires in Southern California.

The Thomas Fire and resulting power outages have prompted authorities to issue a boil water advisory in Ventura, California.

(Instagram photo/johntowers)

Authorities have confirmed that a dog was killed.

6:53 a.m. PST Tuesday:

A second large fire is wreaking havoc in Southern California Tuesday morning. The 1,000-acre Creek Fire began around 4 a.m. local time and the Los Angeles County Fire Department was issuing evacuations for unincorporated areas, according to the Los Angeles Times.

3:48 a.m. PST Tuesday:

The Thomas Fire has grown to 31,000 acres, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. One firefighter has sustained injuries and 27,000 people have been evacuated.

The blaze has destroyed at least 150 structures and one of them is reported to be Vista del Mar Hospital in Ventura.

Ventura county wildfire 12517

(Photo/Ventura County Fire Department)

2:30 a.m. PST Tuesday:

The Thomas Fire has now started moving through of the city of Ventura, with firefighters working to protect blocks of the downtown area. Dozens of homes and other building are reportedly already burning.

Many are taking to social media to disperse information about how to stay safe in wildfire events. Making sure to keep electronics charged in your vehicle while evacuating, dressing to cover as much skin as possible, breathing through a mask or bandanna…

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