California Wildfire Jumps 101 Freeway, Decimates 50,000 Acres

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

A wildfire spurred by wind gusts has razed at least 150 structures, including an apartment complex and psychiatric hospital, and forced thousands of evacuations in Ventura, Cali., the Los Angeles Times reports.

The fire leapt highways and Freeway 101 in Ventura, coming to Solimar Beach and the Pacific Ocean before it stopped.

Cal Fire authorities say the number of buildings lost is probably much higher. Some areas still are not accessible for officials to review the damage as the fire, lit Monday night, continues to burn, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Mass water and power outages hit Ventura as the fire burned through neighborhoods and hit downtown Ventura like a “freight train.”

The fire burning through Ventura, the Thomas Fire, has consumed 50,000 acres, or nearly 80 square miles. A smaller fire has burned another 15,000 acres in Los Angeles County, NPR reports.

Firefighters battling the fire have faced a near impossible battle as winds as high as 50 miles per hour with gusts of 70 miles per hour fueled the blaze, according to the Los Angeles Times.

California had already experienced the deadliest fire season on record by October when wildfires killed 42 people and destroyed around 8,400 buildings in that month alone.

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