Multiple fires are raging in Southern California. A series of Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires have destroyed hundreds of structures, forced thousands to flee and smothered the region with smoke in what officials predicted would be a pitched battle for days.

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Ventura fire

In Santa Paula, residents watch helicopters, hose their roofs and pack for evacuation — just in case

Colin Cantrall waters down his mother's roof with a garden hose. (Kristy Cantrall)
Colin Cantrall waters down his mother's roof with a garden hose. (Kristy Cantrall)

The winds subsided and the flames subdued Wednesday, but Kristy Cantrall left the garden hose on the roof of her Santa Paula townhome, just in case.

The Thomas fire was just a half-mile away from her cul-de-sac neighborhood on Vela Court late Tuesday, prompting neighbors to climb up to their roofs and spray them down with hoses. Helicopters hovered above, dropping buckets of fire retardant on eucalyptus trees that had caught fire just north of the neighborhood.

Cantrall’s son Colin drove from Simi Valley to water down his mother’s home. 

“Once we saw copters come down, we knew we had to water,” he said Tuesday evening. Wednesday, he planned to do the same, if the fire flared up. 

Meanwhile, they just kept an eye on the news.

Across the street, Jose Molina did the same. Molina, his wife and two children sequestered themselves inside their home and away from the heavy smoke. They watched television news to get the latest updates. After his son and nephew watered their roof, there really wasn’t much for them to do, Molina explained. They were ready to go if they had to evacuate, he said. 

His SUV was packed with their essential belongings.

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