Southern Calif. wildfire force thousands to evacuate as community reels from shooting
Tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes from the threat of wildfires in the wake of a mass shooting that killed 12 people
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A community still reeling from a mass shooting was forced to evacuate as a quickly-spreading wildfire forced tens of thousands of people from their homes.
Reuters reported that a fire that broke out northeast of Thousand Oaks forced the evacuation of 75,000 homes in the area, and one of the evacuation centers was in the same building where parents waited to hear news about their children after a gunman killed 12 people at the Borderline Bar and Grill.
The fire was one of three in California, including the Camp fire in Butte County that left the town of Paradise destroyed.
Ventura County Fire Captain Brian McGrath said his team responded to both incidents, according to Los Angeles Times. After their shifts, firefighters also participated in a procession for Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed by the gunman.
“Most personnel were able to get a few hours of rest and, now, are back at it,” McGrath said. “We are ready and we are here.”
A major freeway was shut down by officials due to the fire, forcing drivers to drive down the wrong side of the highway to evacuate.
McGrath said wind is causing the fire to follow the same pattern as the Springs fire a few years ago that burned 24,000 acres.
“The wind is definitely pushing this thing toward the ocean just like the Springs fire a few years ago,” he said. “It’s very fast.”
On an already dark day, wildfire smoke rolls over Thousand Oaks. pic.twitter.com/KEeIhsFf8R— Kathleen Ronayne (@kronayne) November 8, 2018