Thomas Fire, Ventura, CA

By Photo Essays, Photojournalism

So I made it up to Ventura today, Dec 23, with the Thomas Fire still burning and only about 60% contained. Downtown Ventura is no longer in the path of flames and is just now starting to cope with the aftermath of the devastating wildfire, now the largest in California history. The good news is that the downtown and commercial areas were spared any damage. The bad news though is that many structures were damaged or destroyed in other parts of town, some of them mere blocks from Main st. This fire could have been much worse had it not been for the luck of changing wind conditions and the hard work of many, many firefighters brought in to battle the flames.

Here’s a series of photos I took, all of them taken just above Poli Street, only 2 blocks from the heart of downtown Ventura. I didn’t explore any other parts of town but it seems the fire was mostly confined to the foothills and canyons north of the 101 freeway and north/east of downtown. Click any photo for a full-sized version.

Remains of homes above Poli Street. Green stuff is fire retardant chemical.


People had to evacuate fast and leave everything behind.


Remains of home above Poli Street. This home burned to the ground while the neighboring one was unscathed


Remains of home above Poli Street


Remains of home above Poli Street


Remains of home above Poli Street. Looking south towards Santa Monica mountains.


Remains of home above Poli Street




Harbor View Apts on Kalorama Dr. This place got hit hard


Harbor View Apts. view towards Channel Islands


Habor View Apts remains of garage


Harbor View apts.


Harbor View Apartments, looking towards Channel islands


Harbor View apts


Harbor View Apts


Many homes were spared. Fire Dept signage, above Poli Street


Canyon near Grant Park. Fire moved down with lightning speed from Santa Paula area. A local told me she had never seen a fire move so fast.


Canyon near Grant Park. Canyon completely burned.


Fire map. Downtown Ventura is at bottom, center.


Ventura appreciates the firefighters, they were the real heros


Downtown Ventura storefront


Dec 23rd and you can still see the fire burning to the northeast.


Fires like this make for spectacular sunset colors. This is from Ventura beach looking towards the Channel islands as the sun was setting.

A full size gallery of these pics from the Thomas Fire, taken by Paul Vachier can be seen here

Last modified: December 24, 2017

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