New large scale wildfires have broken out in Ventura County, California, affecting areas in Oak Park, Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Bell Canyon, and other areas, fires that are spreading with near unprecedented speed. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and other outlets, the affected acreage has grown double in size in just a few hours from 14,000 acres to 35,000. A significant number of homes and other structures are already reported lost, and there are concerns that more residents will be affected as the fires show signs of moving further west toward the heavily populated San Fernando valley.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for some neighborhoods as terrified residents did their best to quickly gather what they could and move away from the danger zones. Heavy winds contributed to the spread as firefighters gathered in strength to do battle with the moving conflagrations. Nearly 90,000 homes were reported to have been evacuated by early Friday.
As the Times noted, “The Woolsey fire along with the nearby Hill fire, which has burned about 6,000 acres in the Santa Rosa Valley area, prompted Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom on Friday to declare a state of emergency for Los Angeles and Ventura counties on behalf of Gov. Jerry Brown, who was out of the state.”
As always, our thoughts are with our neighbors, friends, and colleagues in Ventura County and all the affected areas. We are deeply grateful for the ongoing efforts of fire and emergency personnel during these frightening and difficult times.
Some resources for those affected by the fires include: