Since late Monday night, a massive brushfire has rolled into the Southern California city of Ventura, pushed along by the howling Santa Ana winds. As of now, the fire has already burned at least 45,000 acres — about twice the size of Manhattan — meaning this fire is spreading faster than the wild fire that hit the state in October. The fire has already destroyed about 150 buildings, including homes and a hospital that was evacuated two hours before being engulfed in flames. As the fire grew on Tuesday, it was burning at a rate of nearly an acre a second — a speed that would cover New York City’s Central Park in a matter of minutes.
“The fire is still out of control and structures continue to be threatened throughout the fire area,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement while noting that emergency crews were still having trouble accessing areas most-threatened by the fire. There are currently around 27,000 people under mandatory evacuation in the county and almost ten times as many homes and business without power in Ventura and nearby Santa Barbara county.
In response, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered an emergency proclamation for Ventura county. “This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we’ll continue to attack it with all we’ve got,” Brown said. “It’s critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so.”