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More Evacuations As Fire Churns Along Coast - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

More Evacuations As Fire Churns Along Coast

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Henry Galvan / Twitter/ MGN Henry Galvan / Twitter/ MGN

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on Southern California wildfires (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

Residents are being ordered to evacuate a tiny beachfront community northwest of Los Angeles where a huge wildfire is churning down hillsides toward seaside homes.

A California Highway Patrol officer drove through Faria Beach Thursday announcing the evacuations through a loudspeaker as surging winds roiled smoke through the streets.

Residents used garden hoses to spray palm trees to keep them from burning as firefighters scrambled to stop the progress of flames.

U.S. 101 along the coast was intermittently closed, as were several highways in and around the Ventura County resort town of Ojai (OH'-hi), where most of the 7,000 residents are under evacuation orders.

Thousands of homes remain threatened by at least four major Southern California wildfires that have destroyed structures and sent residents fleeing.

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8:45 a.m.

A sheriff's official says a woman has been found dead after a car crash in an area under a mandatory evacuation order as the largest of the wildfires raged in Southern California.

Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Donoghue tells The Associated Press that the woman's body was found Wednesday night at the scene of a crash in the Wheeler Canyon area of Santa Paula.

Donoghue says the car was found off the roadway after what appeared to be a single-car crash. He says there were no witnesses to the crash, but no foul play is suspected.

Donoghue says investigators were still trying to determine if the death was connected to the wildfires or if the person was trying to evacuate from the area.

The woman's name hasn't been released and a cause of death is still being determined.

___

6:45 a.m.

Southern California authorities have ordered evacuations for the first time in Santa Barbara County as crews protect coastal communities from a destructive wildfire that's steadily marching west and northwest.

A key stretch of U.S. 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties was intermittently closed Thursday as flames jumped lanes.

Residents of 300 homes in the oceanfront city of Carpinteria were ordered to leave before dawn. A few miles down the coast, crews beat back flames creeping down hillsides toward the seaside hamlet of La Conchita, where at least one abandoned structure burned.

In Los Angeles County firefighters are watching for flare-ups as they try to contain three major blazes that have destroyed homes and sent thousands fleeing.

Forecasters say a more favorable wind forecast still calls for potentially dangerous gusts across the region.

___

5:15 a.m.

Authorities have closed a major freeway as flames from the largest and most destructive Southern California wildfire churn toward coastal and mountain communities northwest of Los Angeles.

Calmer overnight winds Thursday helped crews protect the Ventura County resort town of Ojai (OH'-hi), where most of the 7,000 residents are under evacuation orders.

The National Weather Service says a more favorable wind forecast still calls for potentially dangerous gusts, but ones not likely not to approach historic levels they'd feared.

Officials closed U.S. 101 for more than a dozen miles along the coast, cutting off a major route between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as fire charred heavy brush along lanes.

Thousands of homes remain threatened by at least four major Southern California wildfires that have destroyed structures and sent residents fleeing.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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