Southwestern California was upgraded from a “code red” to “code purple” fire danger level Thursday after a number of wildfires torched neighborhoods and forced thousands of evacuations.
The National Weather Service (NWS) marked an area along California’s coast from San Diego to Ventura, a distance of roughly 200 miles, under a code purple warning.
“Code Purple” (unprecedented alert beyond Code Red) for “extreme” fire danger in parts of Southern California today. https://t.co/wvJ1oONB0m pic.twitter.com/ByKF5IlZMx
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) December 7, 2017
Code purple is an “extreme” warning when, “upon ignition, fires will have extreme growth, will burn very intensely, and will be uncontrollable,” according to NWS.
Four major fires have scorched southern California since Monday night, Mercury News reports.
The largest fire, the Thomas Fire, has covered more than 140 square miles, destroyed at least 150 structures and is only five percent contained.
Most of the burned buildings were located in the city of Ventura. Pushed by strong winds gusting around 60 miles per hour, the Thomas Fire hit Ventura and set neighborhoods on fire. It left a path of destruction up to the Pacific Ocean.
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