California wildfire rages through surf-centric town of Ventura and beyond

A California wildfire that began on Monday in the foothills near Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula has blazed through Ventura County, currently consuming over 65,000 acres and reaching the Pacific Ocean unchecked.

Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, and over 27,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes. Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue told The Los Angeles Times, “The burn area is pretty much all the mountains between Ventura and Ojai and extending east to Santa Paula. It’s a challenge because of the enormity of it, and it’s a challenge because it’s pretty rugged terrain.”

According to The Los Angeles Times, on Tuesday evening the fire jumped Highway 33, burning its way through oil fields before crossing the 101 Freeway into Solimar Beach. Power outages, curfews, school closings and even the temporary loss of Ojai’s water system are just a few of the massive issues the area has faced since Monday.

A separate fire in Los Angeles County also closed parts of Interstate 405 on Wednesday morning.

Ventura (and the surrounding area) is an iconic California surf town, being home to Patagonia’s headquarters, pro surfer Dane Reynolds and the reeling righthand pointbreak at C-Street. Just across the nearby county line with Santa Barbara is home to pro surfer Conner Coffin, Channel Islands Surfboards and Rincon.

Needless to say, this is an important surf mecca and the blaze is endangering surfers and the like. Patagonia employees were instructed to evacuate on Tuesday. A few surf industries stalwarts chimed in on social media to give an update on their own safety as well as the surrounding area.

With estimates at the time of this report state that zero percent of the fire is contained, this is going to get much worse before it gets any better.

Here a few things you can do if you’d like to help those displaced and affected:

The Salvation Army Ventura Corps has set-up at the Ventura Fairgrounds to take donations of clothes, food, water and more. Monetary donations are also accepted on their website.
– The Red Cross is accepting applications for volunteers. Monetary donations can also be made on their website.
– Supplies, donations and monetary support are accepted by the Humane Society of Ventura County and the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation.

Stay tuned to GrindTV for more information on this story. Our thoughts go out to all of those affected.

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