Winds Churn California Wildfires, Keep Aircraft From Helping

"The prospects for containment are not good", said Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen at a news conference.

But fires spread by extreme offshore gusts are rare this time of year - even in Southern California, which is typically warmer and drier during the winter than the rest of the state.

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California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Ventura County Tuesday morning.

Southern California's so-called Santa Ana winds have long contributed to some of the region's most disastrous wildfires.

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Residents who had to evacuate from their homes described tense moments as the fires rapidly approached. The fire broke out in the Rye Canyon Loop and grew to 5,000 acres by Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters in Southern California are used to clusters of wind-driven fires in the fall.

The rains of late 2016 and early 2017 did little to quench the parched California landscape, Patzert and others said.

No fatalities had been confirmed on Tuesday morning, according to Eric Buschow, a sergeant with the sheriff's office.

Rolinski said, "The term "moderate to strong" can be defined differently, but here it generally refers to sustained winds of roughly 20 mph or greater".

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If anything, the rains produced some new grass that led to more damage, Spelman added.

"We haven't gotten in the business of resurrecting dead vegetation", Spelman said. "The Coast Highway gave firefighters a wide break to protect homes on the ocean side of the freeway from the flames", member station KCLU's Lance Orozco reports.

Pack it up, load the car and leave your forwarding address.

Though San Diego's Cedar Fire in 2003 destroyed 273,246 acres, 2,820 structures were destroyed, according to CalFire figures. "The truth is it's just things, it's just things, and thank God no one died".

In a tweet, the Los Angeles Times shared an image of the latest size of the map and the areas affected by its perimeter including the city of Ventura which has a population of more than 100,000 residents.

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