A dramatic cell phone video along a busy Los Angeles freeway shows the flames of a forest fire burning along the hillside early Wednesday. Authorities say hundreds of structures were lost in forest fires throughout Southern California. (6th of December)

VENTURA, Calif. – The unpredictable fire that devastated Ventura and led to the evacuation of tens of thousands throughout the county became even more erratic on Wednesday when it jumped off the highway and headed straight for the ocean. [19659007] Growing at 90,000 acres, or 140.6 square miles, on Wednesday night, the Thomas fire caused more mandatory evacuations in the neighborhoods from Santa Paula to La Conchita, as well as in Santa Barbara, where officials issued a mandatory evacuation to approximately 300 residents. Last Tuesday, the blazing fire crossed Highway 101 in Solimar Beach, north of Ventura, and nearly doubled the number of residents under evacuation orders to 50,000.

Ventura County is northwest of Los Angeles.

"All fighter jets available in the country for the use of California while we speak," said Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott.

More: Forest Fires in Southern California: What We Know Now

The fire that started on Monday night in Santa Paula changed and grew by the hour in changing wind conditions. The firemen have not been able to obtain a true control of the flames, with a containment of 5%.

"When we have opportunities, when the winds have stopped, we direct firefighting in the line of fire and try to contain ourselves a bit," said Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen.

But that will depend only from the Santa Ana winds, which the authorities anticipate will be extremely strong on Thursday and will continue until Saturday, and conditions are expected to be dry, with humidity in a single digit.

Pimlott said he fears the winds they can gain speeds of up to 80 mph.

"There will be no capacity to fight fires in this type of wind. This will be a matter of evacuation and of getting people out of any fire that starts in these kinds of conditions," Pimlott said.


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Last slideNext Slide [19659020] The Cal Fire boss said that residents should have an evacuation plan because the situation can change in a matter of minutes.

Thursday's conditions "are going to be extreme," he said.

These are probably Santa Ana's strongest winds since 2007 – when, at one point, there were 17 active fires in California, said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, California.

"In 2007, we had four fires in effect at the same time in Ventura and Los Angeles counties," Sweet said. "Our conditions are now comparable to what we saw then."

More: Houses burned while forest fires erupt in the upscale Los Angeles neighborhoods

The largest in a southern group Forest fires in California, the Thomas fire closed almost all the schools and universities in Ventura County, with many campuses waiting until the end of the week.

Early Tuesday, air quality was worse in the Ojai Valley, but changing winds made breathing difficult in Ventura, Oxnard, and many areas of the county.

Mike Villegas, Air Pollution Control Officer of Ventura County, said the air quality categories include good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy for all and dangerous.

"Either be very healthy or dangerous," he said over the air in the Ojai area.

Masks help some.

More: The Santa Ana winds are expected to intensify in the Thomas Fire area

It's better than nothing, but I hope people do not have a sense false, "he said.

Michael Nix stood on the platform of his Dodge truck on the Pacific Coast Highway, taking pictures of the flames approaching Highway 101.

" I'm seeing a terrifying situation, " said Nix, who lives outside of Ventura County in the Rincon area, is outside the mandatory evacuation zone, but is full and ready to go.

He said the air, dense with smoke and ash, knew He was not wearing a mask, why?

"That's a good question," he said.

Living inside the mandatory evacuation zone at La Conchita is community leader Mike Bell, who knew that the flames were a mile away, but I was not ready to go. [19659008] More: You can see massive smoke plumes from Southern California from space

"We intend to stay here until we really believe there is a threat to the city," he said. Bell. .

Early Wednesday, Bell sprayed the property of its roof. He said his car was loaded and ready to go.

Firefighters received aerial assistance from eight US Navy aircraft. UU And the California National Guard. Two aircraft were also deployed, known as the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, of the National Air Guard station of the Channel Islands.

Authorities have even reached several state lines to get help.

Teams from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington have arrived or are on the way. The number of personnel fighting the fire is almost 2,000 and the authorities expect that number to increase.

More: See amazing images of the winter fire near the famous Getty Center in Los Angeles

"These assets come from the neighboring states that surround us and we deeply appreciate of, it will apply immediately to the shooting, "said Mark Gilharducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services.

Although firefighters have only achieved 5% fire containment, they have done a good job of protecting homes, Lorenzen said. The teams are evaluating the number of burned structures, which is estimated at 150, but that number is expected to increase. There are still an estimated 12,000 structures threatened.

In Ventura, with so many residents evacuated, the city promulgated a curfew, which began Tuesday night. The curfew was maintained on Wednesday from 10 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m. the next day. According to the city of Ventura, the curfew will be in effect every night until the state of emergency is lifted.

More: A new forest fire sets houses on fire in the poorest neighborhoods of Los Angeles

During curfew, no one should be on public streets or alleys , parks or other public places. According to city officials, the curfew is in place to prevent looting or other crimes in evacuation areas.

Power cuts continued as officials tried to reestablish the transmission system affected by the fire. Approximately 8,400 customers were without power due to Thomas Fire, and Southern California Edison officials did not know when the service would be restored.

Paul Grigaux of Edison said the number of interruptions could fluctuate during the week as the fire continues. threaten the transmission lines.

Contributing: Christian Martinez, Tom Kisken, Alexa D & # 39; Angelo, Cheri Carlson and Megan Diskin, of Ventura County (California). Follow Wendy Leung on Twitter: @Leung__Wendy

More: Govt. Brown declares a state of emergency when thousands flee wildfires in California

  •   Motorists are witnessing a wildfire near the L.A.

    Motorists witness a forest fire near the L.A.

  •   Firefighters fight the flames a few meters from homes in Los Angeles

    Firefighters fight the flames a few meters from homes in Los Angeles

  •   Forest fires turn the California highway into a wall of flames

    Forest fires turn the California highway into a wall of flames

  •   People, animals flee wildfires in California

    People, animals flee wildfires in California

  •   Wildfires destroy homes in Southern California.

    Wildfires destroy homes in Southern California.

  •   Authorities urge Southern California residents to flee their homes

    Authorities urge southern California residents to flee their homes

  •   At least 1 dead As the brush fire moves quickly in Southern California

    At least 1 dead As the brush fire moves quickly in southern California

  •   Forest Fires Destroy Homes in Southern California

    Forest Fires Destroy Homes in Southern California

  •   Houses catch fire when fire breaks out in Los Angeles

    Houses catch fire when fire breaks out in Los Angeles

  •   Southern California fire grows to 70 square miles

    Southern California fire grows to 70 square miles

  •   Ventura County gunpowder fires spread as fast as the wind

    Ventura County fireworks spread as fast as the wind

  •   Raw: wildfire fury in Ventura County, California.

    Raw: the fury of wildfires in Ventura County, California.

  •   California fire forces thousands to evacuate

    California fire forces thousands to evacuate

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