Major Wildfire Strikes Southern California

(Photo by Ryan Cullom/Ventura County Fire Department via AP, Newscred) Firefighters work to put out a blaze burning homes in Ventura, California. // Photo by Ryan Cullom/Ventura County Fire Department via AP, Newscred

A major wildfire broke out in Southern California late Monday night.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Thomas fire reached the city of Ventura, which is near Los Angeles, early Tuesday local time. Thus far the fire has burned 31,000 acres, destroyed approximately 150 structures and forced 27,000 people to evacuate.

According to ABC News, winds are also pushing the fire toward Santa Paula, a city of approximately 30,000 residents that is about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Evacuation orders are in place for houses in Ventura and Santa Paula.

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“The prospects for containment are not good,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told the Los Angeles Times. “Really, Mother Nature is going to decide.”

The fire has also knocked out power for over 260,000 customers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the Times reports.

The blaze is the latest in a series of fires that have heavily damaged the state’s tourism areas this year. In northern California, a massive wildfire in the Napa and Sonoma wine growing regions damaged many area hotels and wineries earlier this fall. Since then organizations like Visit California and the California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns (CABBI) have been working to promote the region’s recovery and bring visitors back as area hotels and attractions, including parts of the scenic Highway 1, reopen.

Thus far major airlines have not issued any change waivers due to the fire. We’ll post further updates to www.travelagentcentral.com as the situation develops.

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