#VenturaFire: A Woman’s Body Has Been Found In Burned Area In Ojai, 100K Acres Scorched, 5 Percent Contained

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A thick, dark blanket of smoke looms over Ventura County, raining ash and embers down on residents and firefighters as the Thomas Fire continues to wreak havoc on the county. Two lanes are currently closed on the southbound U.S. Route 101 at Padre Juan Canyon, but the fast lane and northbound lanes are open; California Highway Patrol suggests avoiding the area. State Route 1 is currently closed due to same fire in both directions, CHP reported.

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Smoke continues to pollute the area creating an apocalyptic scene, the sky drenched in a muck-grey fog so dense it’s hard to see down the street.

 

“We’re running on adrenaline,” one Ventura resident said while hosing down a dry tree outside her home.

 

“We all have friends who’s houses have been burning down, it’s a lot to handle,” another bystander told Fox11 near Faria Beach.

 

A woman’s body was found in a burn area near Ojai earlier Thursday as firefighters continued to battle the massive wildfires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, authorities told Los Angeles Times. Ventura County air quality remains at hazardous levels in Ojai.

 

The fire grew to 96,000 acres burned with 5 percent containment Thursday morning. The Santa Ana winds are in full force, pushing the uncontrollable wildfire closer to new neighborhoods, and prompting new evacuations.

The flames, with the help of harsh winds, crossed Highway 33 (burning through oil fields in the process) and jumped over Highway 101 in the quest to reach the Pacific Ocean. Officials issued new evacuation orders in Ojai Valley, sending an emergency cell phone alert to residents to notify them, according to Los Angeles Times. Five assisted-living facilities are receiving help from authorities in evacuating, and those at Ojai Hospital are advised to shelter in place.

The status of the fire heavily relies on the Santa Ana winds, which authorities anticipate to be extremely strong today and continuing through Saturday; winds have the potential to reach speeds of 80 miles per hour, according to Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott. On top of that, the area is experiencing a dry climate and extremely low humidity.

“When we have opportunities, when the winds have died down, we do direct firefighting on the fire line and try to get some containment,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said.

Pimlott warns conditions today “are going to be extreme.”

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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