All Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) are closed today due to a quick-moving fire driven by Santa Ana winds that originated in Santa Paula along Highway 150 and has now moved westward into Ventura. Currently, the Thomas Fire is estimated to be around 31,000 acres in size.
The intensity of the fire inhibits crews from access, but along with fixed wing aircrafts and helicopters, there are more than 600 personnel on the scene battling the flames.
There have been several road closures along Highway 150 and Foothill Road, along with mandatory evacuations for residents east and west of Dickenson Road, north of Highway 150, north of Foothill Road, and east of Main Street. There have already been approximately 7,700 mandatory house evacuations in Ventura.
Ventura officials have declared a local State of Emergency as well as a county State of Emergency. The City of Ventura has also cautioned residents to boil water before drinking as a safety precaution.
Dante Anderson ’20 has evacuated from his home and said that he is “disappointed because our house might catch on fire.”
There are shelters for those evacuated in the Miners Building at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, as well as at Nordhoff High School in Ojai.
According to radio station 103.3, it is highly probable that all areas north of Telegraph Road will be evacuated.
Additionally, Southern California Edison notes that approximately 180,000 residents in Ventura County were without power or service until 2:55 a.m.; it may take several days for some of the power to return.
In total, the fire has consumed approximately 150 structures and over 31,000 acres.
Many were shocked by the unexpectedness and the profound effects of the disaster.
“I guess I’m used to living in a quiet little sleepy town where nothing ever happened,” Raine Hagerty ‘19 said. “I saw the flames and I came to the realization that we are not immune to these big events.”