A massive wildfire, which has already destroyed nearly 800 structures in the state of California in the United States, has now moved towards the coastal cities, Reuters reported. The authorities in the counties of Santa Barbara, which lies about 160 km west of the city of Los Angeles, and Ventura asked residents to evacuate on Sunday.
Dubbed the Thomas Fire, it is the fifth largest blaze in the state since 1932 and has already scorched 2,30,000 acres. The combination of hot and dry winds and a rugged terrain in the Santa Barbara and Ventura counties hampered firefighting efforts, officials said. “This is a menacing fire, certainly, but we have a lot of people working very diligently to bring it under control,” Sheriff Bill Brown of the Santa Barbara County said.
The police in Ventura on Sunday took people to their homes for 45 minutes so that they could retrieve their belongings before taking them back to safety, the Washington Post reported.
Fire officials, however, said they would not be able to tell when the blaze would be contained and people would be able to move back into their homes. “As long as the areas are a continued threat, we are going to leave those evacuation orders in place, for safety of life,” said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Charles Esseling said. “We understand people are antsy and want to get back in there, but we do not want any issues or injuries.”