(NBC News) More than 45,000 acres and 150 structures have been destroyed in a massive wildfire burning Southern California.
The Thomas Fire exploded overnight, pushed by winds gusting over 50 miles an hour, chewing through the California hills with flames swallowing an acre every second at times.
“We have extremely high winds, very very low relative humidities, and our fuel conditions out there are absolutely about as bad as they could be for fire spread,” said Ventura County Fire Department Chief Mark Lorenzen.
Around 30,000 families have been forced to leave their homes in Ventura County. As evacuees rush to safety, fire teams continue to rush towards the flame.
“We’re in an extreme firefight right now trying to save lives and protect property,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby.
There are at least five wildfires, including the Thomas Fire, across the area right now and they are growing. Firefighters stress they are not even close to containing the flames.
Forecasters say the dry and windy conditions will continue through at least Thursday in the region.