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California wildfires

A raging wildfire has forced thousands to flee their homes in California


Updated December 05, 2017 07:59 AM EST

Wildfires burn in Ventura, California.

Authorities say that an explosive wildfire in Southern California has prompted evacuation orders for approximately 8,000 homes.

Ventura County Fire Sgt. Eric Buschow on Monday said that the blaze began that day before growing wildly to more than 48 square miles in the hours that followed.

Buschow added that the inferno consumed vegetation that had not burned in decades, and ferocious winds soon fueled its rapid growth.

The Locastro Brothers late Monday shared footage of the flames spreading through Ventura and illuminating the night sky overhead.

Fire officials said that at least 150 structures have been burned so far, with no immediate word on whether they were businesses or homes.

More than 27,000 people have been evacuated from the region, and one firefighter was also injured, with no comment on the extent of the wounds.

“The fire growth is just absolutely exponential,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said Monday.

“All that firefighters can do when we have winds like this is to get out ahead, evacuate people, and protect structures.”

Winds on Monday were pushing the conflagration toward Santa Paula, a city of about 30,000 people roughly 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Many of the evacuated homes are located in Santa Paula, but evacuation orders were also expanded to houses in Ventura.

Ventura is about 12 miles southwest of Santa Paula, and it boasts about 106,000 residents who may be impacted by the fire.

Officials on Monday said that one person had died in an auto accident associated with the blaze, but they gave no additional information.

Thomas Aquinas College, a school with about 350 students, has also been evacuated, the college said in a statement.

Students either went to their own homes or to those of college faculty or staff, the school added.

The National Weather Service on Monday said that winds exceeding 40 mph and gusts of over 60 mph had been reported in the area.

Fire officials said that the winds increased overnight, and the NWS said that they are expected to continue.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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