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Winds whip up in Southern California fires, prompting evacuations

06 December 2017

A fast-moving wildfire has prompted evacuation orders for almost 8000 homes in southern California, which has killed one person in a related road accident.

The fire chief said one death had been reported.

Evacuation orders were expanded to include homes in Ventura, a city 12 miles south-west of Santa Paula, with more than 100,000 residents.

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A woman evacuates her home as the fire burns in Santa Paula on December 5. More than 27,000 people were evacuated and one firefighter suffered bumps and bruises in a vehicle accident in Ventura County. Most of the evacuated homes were in that city. "Really, Mother Nature is going to decide when we have the ability to put it out because it is pushing hard with the wind", Lorenzen said.

A high wind warning also remained in effect Tuesday, with the red flag warning set to expire late Thursday night and the high wind warning expected to expire Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. The flames were driven by Southern California's dry and gusty Santa Ana winds, which have contributed to some of the region's most disastrous wildfires.

At least two structures have burned so far, officials said.

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Authorities in Ventura County, on the Pacific Coast just north of Los Angeles, declared an emergency and said they planned to use fixed wing aircraft and helicopters against the "fast moving, active brush fire".

The blaze broke out on Monday and quickly burned 4,000 hectares in hours, Ventura County Fire Sergeant Eric Buschow said. The fire erupted near Santa Paula, a city of some 30,000 people about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.

Shelters have been set up a local school and county fairgrounds for evacuees.

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Winds whip up in Southern California fires, prompting evacuations