The fire that has ravaged Ventura County continued to burn out of control Wednesday, reaching the Pacific Ocean unchecked as officials warned many more homes have been lost.
The fast-moving, wind-driven wildfire continued to rage through the city of Ventura on Tuesday evening, jumping Highway 33 and burning through oil fields before crossing the 101 Freeway into Solimar Beach, authorities said.
On Wednesday, fire officials said their focus was going to be prevent the fire from moving into the Ojai Valley.
The blaze has consumed 65,500 acres on its journey to the ocean. The 101 remains open, but authorities warned drivers to be cautious traveling through the area.
Thousands of homes were still threatened by flames, 27,000 people were forced to flee, a firefighter was injured and Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, as some 1,100 personnel continued to battle the blaze.
At least 150 structures — including one large apartment complex and the Vista Del Mar Hospital, a psychiatric facility — were consumed by flames. But Cal Fire suspects the true number is hundreds more; firefighters just haven’t been able to get into areas to know for sure.
Authorities Tuesday evening continued to widen evacuation zones and announced dozens of school closures in Ventura and Conejo Valley for Wednesday.
The Casitas Municipal Water District warned residents to boil their tap water for about a minute before drinking and cooking. The order was issued to residents in the Upper Ojai Valley, Casitas Springs, Foster Park and the entire city of Ventura because of the loss of pressure and water supply from fire-related power outages.
The fall weather sequence helped spark the Thomas fire, which as of 7:45 p.m. Tuesday was 0% contained, fire officials said. In the last couple of years, the rains came before the Santa Ana winds. But this year, with no rain in three months, the winds hit dry fuels.
“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.”
The state sent resources to help with firefighting efforts as authorities opened new shelters throughout the county. Ventura County officials have asked the state for eight fixed-wing firefighting aircraft to help douse the flames, said Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue.
The blaze started about 6:25 p.m. Monday in the foothills near Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, a popular hiking destination. It grew wildly to more than 15 square miles in the hours that followed — consuming vegetation that hasn’t burned in decades, Ventura County Fire Sgt. Eric Buschow said.
“The burn area is pretty much all the mountains between Ventura and Ojai and extending east to Santa Paula,” Donoghue said. “It’s a challenge because of the enormity of it, and it’s a challenge because it’s pretty rugged terrain.”
Power outages also caused problems for firefighters Monday night and rendered some pumping systems inoperable, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Steve Kaufmann. Some hydrants couldn’t get water pumped to them because there was no power, he said.
At one point in Ojai, the entire water system went down, including hydrants and drinking water, because a pumping system was damaged by the fire, Kaufmann said.
On Tuesday morning the water district had sent people to Ventura to repair the problems, but he did not know status of the repair.
“It definitely presented a challenge to us,” he said.
By 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, authorities had ordered a mandatory evacuation of the entire community of Casitas Springs, northwest of Ventura. The evacuation area spreads from the northern portion of Highway 33 into Ojai, said Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Stan Ziegler. The county also issued a voluntary evacuation order for all parts of Ojai Valley not under mandatory evacuation.
In addition to the Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura and Nordhoff High School in Ojai, evacuation centers have been set up at the Oxnard College gymnasium and Santa Paula Community Center.
The size of the fire will likely grow, Ziegler said. Authorities are still seeing “erratic fire behavior and erratic winds so it’s making the firefight very difficult,” Ziegler said.
Aircraft are available for firefighting efforts, but will usually only drop retardant when winds are below 30 mph, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott McLean.
About 7 a.m., the wind appeared to be pushing the fire east toward Camarillo and north toward Ojai, said Ventura County Sheriff’s Senior Deputy Tim Lochman.
On Tuesday, firefighters continued trying to save homes in Ventura, where the fire was active. They faced a red-flag wind advisory that notes ridgeline winds of 35 to 45 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph. Winds are expected to decrease somewhat in the afternoon, said Chad Cook, Ventura County Fire Department division chief.
The fire hopscotched through hillside neighborhoods Monday night, burning some homes and sparing others. Some residents hoped the worst might be over in the early hours of the morning when the wind died down. But it picked up with a fury around daybreak, causing more destruction.
Engulfed in flames, the Hawaiian Village Apartments above central Ventura collapsed about 4 a.m.
Water gushed down North Laurel Street as firefighters worked to put out the flaming complex and residents watched, holding cameras and cellphones. The sound of bursting propane tanks filled the air.
Hundreds of firefighters working through the night tried to prevent the blaze from spreading, block by block, as they were confronted by wind gusts of up to 50 mph.
One firefighter was hit by a car while he was protecting homes. He was at a hospital, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Scott Quirarte.
Fire officials said the intensity of the fire, coupled with the high winds, made it pretty much unstoppable.
Schools in the Oxnard, Ventura, Hueneme and Santa Paula school districts were closed Tuesday.
California authorities have secured a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist in firefighting efforts, the Office of Emergency Services announced Tuesday morning.
Fire officials expected flames would rip through at least 50,000 acres in the mountains between Santa Paula and Ventura.
The destruction comes in what was already the worst year on record for wildfires in California. Forty-four people were killed and more than 10,000 structures were lost when fires swept through Northern California’s wine country in October.
The Thomas fire’s movement bears some similarity to Northern California’s Tubbs fire, which ravaged the town of Santa Rosa and killed more than 20 people in October, McLean said.
The Thomas fire has moved almost as quickly as the Tubbs did, with winds pushing flames that started north of a community into a city, he said. Like the Tubbs, there are access issues with the Thomas fire because of the topography, McLean said.
What’s different, though, is that authorities began the morning of the Tubbs firefighting more than a dozen blazes in the area, whereas the Thomas fire is currently the greatest threat in Southern California. The Creek fire, near Sylmar, was at 11,000 acres early Tuesday afternoon and had destroyed at least 30 structures.
There were no confirmed fatalities in the Thomas fire as of 2 p.m., authorities said.
Southern California has been under red-flag weather conditions since Monday, with “the strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season” expected through at least Thursday, the National Weather Service said.
The dry, gusty Santa Ana winds will continue for at least the next three days, the National Weather Service said.
“Generally, it’s awful fire weather today, tomorrow and Thursday,” said forecaster Ryan Kittell. “The winds we’re seeing right now are … plenty strong to drive a fire.”
It doesn’t matter that the winds are relatively cool compared to typical Santa Anas because wind gusts are so powerful and dry, he said.
John Bain and Brandon Baker try to stop a fire from burning a stranger’s home in Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A brush fire moving with the wind sends embers all over residential neighborhoods north of Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A family packs up and evacuates as a brush fire gets closer to their home in Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
John Bain and his friends, all from Camarillo, came to help as brush fires move quickly through residential neighborhoods in Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Strangers band together to help put out a palm tree on fire and stop it from burning homes.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
The Hawaiian Gardens apartments burn in Ventura.(Michael Owen Baker / For the Times)
Residents help with the fire attack on Buena Vista Street in Ventura.(Michael Owen Baker / For the Times)
Residents watch the Thomas fire on Prospect Street in Ventura.(Michael Owen Baker / For the Times)
Firefighters are deployed to battle the fire in a Ventura neighborhood.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A chimney is all that stands of a home as a brush fire continues to threaten other homes in Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Remnants of a home as a brush fire continues to threaten other homes in Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A home burns on a hillside overlooking Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Palms are consumed in the Thomas fire.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times )
Emma Jacobson, 19, center, gets a hug from a neighbor after her family home was destroyed by fire in Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Olivia Jacobson, 16, wipes tears as she looks at her family’s home, destroyed by the brush fire on Island View Drive in Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Aerial view of the Thomas fire in Ventura County.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Noah Alarcon carries a cage with the family cat while evacuating from Casitas Springs.(Michael Owen Baker / For the Times)
Smoke from the Thomas fire crosses over Lake Casitas near Ojai.(Michael Owen Baker / For the Times)
A Ventura County firefighter battles a blaze on Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road in Ventura.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Ventura County Firefighter Aaron Cohen catches his breath after fighting to save homes along Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road in Ventura.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Aerial view of homes burned to the ground in the Thomas fire in Ventura County.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times )
A home between Via Baja and Foothill Road burns in Ventura.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Amanda Leon and husband Johnny Leon watch as firefighters fight to save homes along Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road in Ventura.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Chino Valley firefighters fight to save a home along Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road in Ventura.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Embers continue to burn at sunset Tuesday in a home on Ridgecrest Court at Scenic Way in the Clearpoint neighborhood of Ventura.(Al Seib / Los Angeles TImes)
A firefighter battles the Thomas fire along Highway 33 in Casitas Springs.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Firefighters try to protect homes from the Thomas fire along Highway 33 in Casitas Springs.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A firefighter battles the Thomas fire along Highway 33 in Casitas Springs.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Edward Aguilar runs through the flames of the Thomas Fire to save his cats at his mobile home along Highway 33 in Casitas Springs in Ventura County.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Jeff Lipscomb, left, Gabriel Lipscomb, 17, center, and Rachel Lipscomb, 11, look for items to recover from their burned home in Ventura.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A traffic collision temporarily clogged lanes on the northbound 101 Freeway between Solimar and Faria Beaches as the Thomas fire burned in the hills.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The Thomas fire burns towards the 101 Freeway and homes between Solimar and Faria Beaches.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Fire personnel keep an eye on the Thomas fire on Toland Road near Santa Paula.(Michael Owen Baker / For the Times)
A train on the Rincon coast passes a burning hillside from the Thomas fire.(Michael Owen Baker / For the Times)
The Thomas fire burns along the 101 Freeway north of Ventura on Wednesday evening.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A firefighter battles the Thomas fire in the town of La Conchita early Thursday.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A resident cries as the Thomas fire approaches the town of La Conchita early Thursday.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Burned palm trees are left standing between the 101 Freeway and Faria Beach as the Thomas fire reaches the Pacific Ocean.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Firefighters battle Thursday to protect the resort city of Ojai from encroaching flames.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Casey Rodriquez helps a friend move belongings after the Thomas Fire destroyed most of an apartment building on North Kalarama in Ventura.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A burnt-out bus near Maripoca Highway.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
The Thomas fire burns in the Los Padres National Forest, near Ojai.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
The Thomas Fire burns in the Los Padres National Forest, near Ojai, Calif. on Friday.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Residents react as they watch the Thomas Fire burn in the hills above La Conchita at 5 am Thursday moning.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Mary McEwen and husband Dan Bellaart prepare to evacuate their home on Toro Canyon Road in Montecito as the Thomas fire burns.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Carpenteria resident Chris Gayner, right, photographs a plane in the hills of Carpenteria.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
From left, residents Michael Desjardins, his neighbor Patty Rodriguez, daughter Mikayla, wife Veronica, mother in law Amanda Buzin, and son Mikey keep an eye on the Thomas fire in Carpenteria.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Mary McEwen cheers as she sees fire crews make their way up a hill past her home on Toro Canyon Rd. in Montecito.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Dan Bellaart and wife Mary McEwen comfort each other in the backyard of their home that includes an avocado ranch on 9 acres of land on Toro Canyon Road in Montecito, as the Thomas fire burns in the background.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Carpinteria resident Jay Molnar, 55, mouth and nose protected against the smoke, views flames glowing in the hills above the city on Dec. 11, 2017.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Sacramento firefighters battle a blaze in Toro Canyon in Carpenteria at dusk Tuesday.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Josh Acosta, superintendent with Fulton Hotshots looks for ways to fight fire consuming a structure threatening two homes high up Toro Canyon in Carpenteria at dusk Tuesday.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
A motorcade passes on tHighway 126 carrying the body of a Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson, who died Thursday morning while battling the Thomas Fire.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Santa Paula City officials, Police and Firefighters salute from a bridge as a motorcade passes on the Santa Paula Freeway 126 carrying the body of a Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Flames from a back fire behind a home off Ladera Lane near Bella Vista Drive during continuing efforts to fight the Thomas Fire on East Camino Cielo above Montecito, Calif. on Thursday.(Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire)
An Erickson MD-87, right, making a Phos-chek drop while following the lead plane during continuing efforts to fight the Thomas Fire on East Camino Cielo above Montecito, California on Thursday.(Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire)
Forest Service crews cut and clear dense brush for contingency lines off of East Camino Cielo in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Montecito and Santa Barbara to help stop the Thomas fire from advancing.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
A hotshot crew from Ojai marches towards their assignment to protect structures on East Mountain Drive in Montecito.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Firefighters monitor the flames Saturday from a staging area near Parma Park in Montecito.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Flames slowly make their way down a valley behind a home in Montecito.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Flames whip around power lines as they move through Sycamore Canyon on Saturday, threatening structures in Montecito.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Smoke billows over Santa Barbara as the Thomas Fire continues to threaten the area on Saturday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Bill Shubin, deputy fire chief of the Santa Rosa Fire Department checks on flames burning near homes north of East Mountain Drive in Montecito.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A fire truck pulls responds to fires burning near homes on East Mountain Drive in Montecito.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times )
Brian Good, from US Forest Service, leans forward against the wind, and holds up a Kestrel to measure wind speeds up to 50 mph on Gibraltar Road in Montecito.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A plume of smoke moves south as winds as high as 50 mph blow down Gibraltar Road on the west fork of Cold Spring Trail in Montecito.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Flames and a big plume of smoke threaten homes on Gibraltar Road near Gibraltar Rock, outside Montecito.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
The sun rises as fire crews prepare for another day of fighting the Thomas Fire, in Montecito, Calif., on Sunday.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
An aircraft makes a water drop over a hot spot up in the mountain range at Gibraltar Rock near Montecito, Calif. on Sunday.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Humboldt County firefighters Bobby Gray, left, hoses down smoldering flames inside a destroyed home, as Kellee Stoehr, right looks on, after the Thomas Fire burned in Montecito, Calif. on Sunday.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A home on Park Hill Lane was destroyed by the Thomas fire in Montecito, Calif.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times )
Humboldt County firefighters Lonnie Risling, left, and Jimmy McHaffie, right, spray down smoldering fire underneath the rubble of a home that was destroyed by the Thomas Fire, in Montecito, Calif., Sunday.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Fire crews help the Behrman family retrieve their family’s personal belongings out of their burned home, in Montecito, Calif., on Sunday.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
In the foreground of the ridges that were burned by the Thomas Fire, Rusty Smith stands outside his home that survived the flames that were kicked up by Saturday’s wind event and threatened his home in Flores Flats on Gibraltar Road, near Montecito.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Ventura County fire officials reported Monday night that one person was killed in a traffic accident on a road closed due to the Thomas fire. But at about 6 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said no human fatalities were confirmed — although they added that one dog had died.
At least 1,000 homes in Ventura, Santa Paula and Ojai were evacuated.
More than 260,000 customers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties lost power as the fire raged. By noon Tuesday 15,000 homes in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties were still without power, said Southern California Edison spokesman Paul Netter.
More homes may lose power as the fires continue to spread, and some may be without power for days, Netter said.
“We’re encouraging conservation because of the power fluctuations,” he said. “Every little bit helps when it comes to maintaining power as we restore it.”
Just north of Foothill Boulevard, along Hilltop Drive, Mark Urban, 53, took a moment about 7 a.m. Tuesday to inspect the front of his home, where at least two spot fires had broken out; one was put out by firefighters and the other by himself, using a garden hose.
Urban said he and his wife began evacuating their Spanish-style home about 11 p.m. Monday and headed to the Ventura fairgrounds. About 1 a.m., though, he returned to grab more belongings and decided to stay to defend their home with a hose, he said.
“I just kept hitting the hot spots,” Urban said.
A crowd gathered Tuesday morning in the street at the top of a hilly Santa Paula neighborhood, watching as black smoke and flames crept along a tawny ridge near dozens of white, tan and pink houses.
Gusts ripped red flowers off a bougainvillea and sent flames billowing upward a few hundred feet from houses along Coronado Circle.
Doctors and nurses in scrubs who had stepped out of nearby Santa Paula Hospital put on face masks and pulled out cellphones to record the fire.
The hospital was closed Tuesday to incoming patients and all surgeries were canceled, according to a doctor and a technician who were not authorized to talk to the media. About 16 patients remained in the 28-bed facility and could be quickly evacuated if fire officials gave the word, they said.
Beverly Moore stood on 10th Street with a black hoodie drawn tightly over her head to block the strong winds, watching the fire.
Moore moved to Coronado Circle about eight years ago, when the neighborhood was new. She knew fire was a risk, because the street opens onto hundreds of acres of open space that is covered in dry brush, she said. Even so, she wasn’t prepared to watch the fire come so close to her house.
In her rush to leave home, Moore said, she’d grabbed her violin, but forgot her jewelry and her daughter’s guitar.
Police cars blocked the street, stopping residents from returning to their homes. A Santa Paula police officer allowed Moore back in, telling her to hurry.
She returned 15 minutes later, smiling, her jewelry in a brown shopping bag, her father’s will in a manila envelope, and her daughter’s guitar slung across her back.
“It’s all she wanted,” Moore said. “I’ve done what I could.”
Darlene Gonzalez and her husband scrambled to evacuate Monday by 6 p.m., just after they got off work. They fled with clothes, passports and other paperwork, but left her husband’s most cherished possessions in the garage: A 1959 Chevrolet El Camino and a 1928 Ford (“a Bonnie and Clyde car,” Gonzalez said).
“You work so hard all your life, and now this,” Gonzalez said. “But what can you do? Fire is fire.”
At least two buildings on the campus of Vista Del Mar Hospital burned down as the Thomas fire ravaged the canyons above Ventura.
The hospital treats adolescents and adults with mental health issues, and among its specialties is treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Patients were evacuated and by Tuesday morning, two buildings were completely destroyed by flames, with the rubble of stucco walls and clay roofs smoldering under the smoky sky.
“There’s a huge need for this facility,” said Roger Case, 76, explaining that it welcomes patients from Fresno to the San Fernando Valley. Case is an advisory board member.
In addition to serving about 80 patients at a time, the facility also employs about 230 people.
Many have found their way to evacuation centers, waiting out the fire.
Inside the shelter at the Ventura County fairgrounds Tuesday morning, some volunteers handed out water and bananas to evacuees who spent the night. Others grabbed the green cots that crowded the concrete floor and walked them over to the larger livestock shelter where the evacuees were being moved.
Rudy Avendano and his family voluntarily evacuated their home on Richmond Road about 3 a.m. His daughter Felicia had woken up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom when she saw flashing lights on the street.
She stepped outside and asked the police if they were being evacuated.
“We strongly suggest it,” she remembered the officer saying.
She quickly woke her parents and two sisters. They grabbed the items they’d packed earlier in the day — clothes, blankets, documents, photo albums and a mandolin — and jumped into their cars with their pit bull-Labrador mix, Bear.
Avendano, 60, said he saw a continuous ribbon of orange flames licking the hills on the drive to the fairgrounds.
Throughout the drive, he said, he thought of the extra food he should have thrown in the car. A gallon of Sunny Delight and a box of crackers from Trader Joe’s weren’t enough, he said with a laugh.
Parvini, Nelson, Vives and Hamilton reported from Ventura County, Kohli from Los Angeles. Times staff reporters Jaclyn Cosgrove, Alene Tchekmedyian, Joseph Serna and Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
8 a.m.: This article was updated with new acres burned.
Dec. 6, 5 a.m.: This article was updated with a new lead paragraph.
10 p.m.: This article was updated with information that the fire jumped the 101 Freeway and reached the ocean.
9:31 p.m.: This article was updated with acreage information, evacuations and a boil-water order.
6:40 p.m.: This article was updated with fire behavior information.
5:20 p.m.: This article was updated with latest containment information.
4:50 p.m.: This article was updated with acreage information.
2:50 p.m.: This article was updated with acreage information
1:40 p.m.: This article was updated with information about power outages, evacuations and issues with fire hydrants.
11:30 a.m.: This article was updated with information about the state of emergency announcement and evacuees.
10:00 a.m.: This article was updated with information about firefighting efforts, power outages and evacuations.
8:10 a.m.: This article was updated with information about acreage burned and firefighting efforts.
6:20 a.m.: This article was updated with information about a reported animal fatality and a hospital evacuation.
4:15 a.m.: This article was updated with interviews with Ventura residents.
3:55 a.m.: This article was updated with new numbers on acreage burned, structures destroyed and people evacuated.
3:40 a.m.: This article was updated with a new evacuation number and an interview with the son of evacuees.
3:10 a.m.: This article was updated with new acreage-burned numbers and a report of an injury to a firefighter.
2:10 a.m.: This article was updated with updated acreage-burned figures and reports of homes on fire.
1:50 a.m.: This article was updated with interviews with Ventura residents.
1 a.m.: This article was updated with information from Southern California Edison and an interview with a resident outside the evacuation zone.
Dec. 5, 12:05 a.m.: This article was updated with information about power outages and an interview with a Santa Paula resident.
11:10 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect two structures have been destroyed.
10:35 p.m.: This article was updated with information about power outages.
10:25 p.m.: This article was updated with a larger acreage-burned number and new evacuations.
10:10 p.m.: This article was updated with more information about the emergency response to the fire.
9:40 p.m.: This article was updated with a larger acreage-burned number.
9:10 p.m.: This article was updated with more information from fire officials.
8:55 p.m.: This article was updated with a new acreage-burned number.
8:15 p.m.: This article was updated with information about evacuations.
7:55 p.m.: This article was updated with a new acreage-burned number.
This article was originally published on Dec. 4 at 7:10 p.m.