More than 260,000 customers lose power amid intense winds
More than 260,000 customers were without power in Southern California late Monday due to intense Santa Ana winds that spread a massive wildfire in Ventura County.
According to Southern California Edison, 180,000 customers in Ventura County and 83,000 customers in Santa Barbara have lost power.
Blackouts were also reported in parts of the San Fernando Valley.
Firefighters were dealing with wind gusts that topped 50 mph as the Thomas fire burned between Santa Paula and Ventura. Thousands of homes were evacuated and several were reported burned.
Officials said the wind gusts Monday night forced them to ground two fire helicopters, but that they hoped to get them back up when the winds calm.
Authorities anticipate a high fire risk with a red-flag warning in effect through Thursday. Los Angeles and Ventura counties could see wind gusts of 50 to 70 mph Monday night into Tuesday, the National Weather Service predicted.