California governor declares state of emergency to battle fast moving fire

A firefighter battles a wildfire in Santa Paula, Ventura, the United States, on Dec. 5, 2017. Fast moving brush fire exploded to more than 10,000 acres (40 square km) Monday night in Ventura County in the western U.S. state of California, threatening homes in nearby cities and leading to the death of one person.

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 5 -- California's Governor Jerry Brown declared Tuesday a state of emergency in Ventura County in the western U.S. state as a fast moving brush fire exploded to around 45,500 acres, destroying hundreds of homes and prompting 27,000 people to evacuate.

The blaze, dubbed the Thomas Fire, broke out Monday evening in the area of Thomas Aquinas College and Stekel Park, both in the city of Santa Paula, and then burnt along both sides of Highway 150, which was subsequently closed by the authorities. Pushed by powerful winds, the fire has grown dramatically in size within a few hours after it started, threatening the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura, 110 km northwest of Los Angeles downtown.

"This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got," said Governor Brown in a press release. "It's critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so."

The brush fire has damaged and continues to threaten critical infrastructure, causing widespread power outages and has forced the closure of major highways and local roads. Extreme weather conditions including strong winds have further increased the spread of this fire, according to the press release.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted a fire management assistance to assist with the mitigation, management and control of the Thomas Fire.

Several brush fires are burning in Southern California. Another dynamic brush fire, dubbed the Creek Fire, has exploded to at least 4,000 acres in Los Angeles County.

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