A fast-moving, aggressive wildfire tore through Southern California Monday night and into Tuesday morning as 500 firefighters struggled to battle flames officials described as “out of control.”
The brush fire began just north of Santa Paula in Ventura County and burned through at least 31,000 acres through the county’s city limits toward Highway 33, according to an early morning statement from Ventura officials.
The rampant fire, burning just north of Los Angeles, forced at least 27,000 people to evacuate and destroyed at least 150 structures — including one apartment complex that eventually collapsed, officials told the Los Angeles Times. One firefighter was injured, though his or her condition is unclear. About 180,000 residents in Ventura County and another 83,000 others in Santa Barbara lost power because of the fire, according to Southern California Edison.
Containment efforts were particularly difficult Monday evening as the fire — fueled by Santa Ana winds and dry brush — moved rapidly. Firefighters were unable to use containment mechanisms from the air — like helicopters dropping water and airliners that drop retardant to make containment lines — most of the evening due to safety risks and visibility issues.