Brush Fire Moving Toward Thousand Oaks, Bringing More Suffering To Stricken Community

brush fire threatens Thousand Oaks, California, the day after a mass shooting
David McNew / Getty Images

A raging brush fire in Southern California is steadily moving toward Thousands Oaks, the community terrorized by a mass shooting late Wednesday night. The already-devastated residents may soon be forced to evacuate. The fire erupted quickly nearby, and officials say it is already spreading fast. This is the second brush fire to erupt in California. Firefighters have already been dispatched north of the state to fight a raging fire threatening residents.

More than 160 firefighters have been sent to fight the flames near Thousand Oaks. There are eight air tankers on their way to perform damage control on the blaze as well, according to Bakersfield Now.

As of Thursday evening, the fire was about five miles away from the site of the California bar where Ian David Long killed 12 people Wednesday night.

A state of emergency has already been declared in Northern California, where the second brush fire has already created forced evacuations.

The fire near Thousand Oaks began in Newbury Park, and has grown to encompass 10,000 acres as of Thursday evening, according to CBS Los Angeles.

A vigil being held for the victims of the Thousand Oaks shooting will be overshadowed by smoke, which is already visible hovering above the area. People on Twitter are sharing pictures of smoke clouds growing ever-closer to the devastated community.

“Just two miles from where the horrible Thousand Oaks shooting took place last night a massive brush fire has just blew up in the last 30 minutes,” said one Twitter user.

Several of the victims of the shooting have already been identified. Among them was a young college student, a recent college graduate, and a police officer who is being hailed as a hero. He exchanged fire with the shooter several times, being hit multiple times in the process, and died of his injuries at the hospital.

Residents in both Northern and Southern California are being asked to evacuate. They are fleeing their homes on very short notice. Around 27,000 people in Paradise, California, have been ordered to leave for their own protection, according to the Weather Channel.

“It’s pure chaos up here,” said CHP public information office Ryan Lambert.

The fire in Southern California burned about 12.5 square miles in the first two hours.

The wind is driving the fire through Ventura County and other counties around Los Angeles, according to ABC 10 News. California State University, Channel Islands, has already been evacuated. The 7,000 students had to leave due to poor air quality.