Thomas Fire forces thousands to flee homes in Ventura County

The Thomas Fire how now jumped Hwy 101 and reached the Pacific Ocean, after starting 30 miles inland Monday.

Posted: Dec. 5, 2017 8:36 AM
Updated: Dec. 7, 2017 4:53 AM

Update 12/7 5 a.m.

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The Thomas Fire in Ventura County has prompted new evacuations and the closure of the 101 Freeway between Routes 126 and 150. The fire is now 90,000 acres and 5% contained. At last check, 150 structures were destroyed and 12,000 threatened. 

The Creek Fire in Los Angeles County is now 12,605 acres and 5% contained. And the Rye Fire is 7,000 acres and 10% contained.

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The same vicious winds that made three Southern California wildfires so destructive are also making the firefight itself more difficult.

The water-dropping planes and helicopters essential to fighting massive fires have been mostly grounded because it's too dangerous to fly in the strong gusts. Commanders hoped to have them back in the air on Wednesday morning, but the whipping winds are preventing that.

The blazes brought evacuation orders for nearly 200,000 people, destroyed nearly 200 homes and have remained mostly out control. The largest and most destructive of the blazes, an 65,000 acre wildfire in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, has now jumped Highway 101 and reached the Pacific Ocean Wednesday morning, after starting 30 miles inland on Monday.

Officials are now reporting a brush fire has erupted on the east side of Los Angeles along Interstate 405 in Sepulveda Pass. Firefighters are wokring to set up protection for homes at the top of the steep slopes, as well as firefighting helicopters. Sepulveda Pass carries heavily traveled Interstate 405 through the Santa Monica Mountains between the western neighborhoods of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley to the north.

We will continue to bring you updates on the developing story.

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