by Jennifer Tipton
It came without warning, on Monday, December 4th, late into the evening, sudden panic shattered our sleepy little seaside town, we’ve seen many tragedies across the country, but never here…not in our hometown!
That’s not entirely true, on March 12, 1928 the man-made St. Francis Dam in Northern Los Angeles County burst and sent a night long torrent of water, mud and debris racing down the Santa Clara River to the ocean destroying homes in Piru, Bardsdale, Fillmore, Santa Paula and Saticoy, killing more than 450 people. Victims of this disaster were swept away with the debris; some bodies were never recovered.
In Ventura, we live with the threat of tsunamis, earthquakes and the inconvenience of those pesky Santa Ana winds all the time, but on the night of December 4th, those “pesky” winds turned savage and fueled the worst fire our city has ever seen.
And now, the worst wildfire on record in California, as of December 28th 281,893 acres had burned (that’s an area larger than New York City) and surpasses the Cedar Fire in 2003 that consumed 273,000 acres. The official list dates back to 1932, prior records are less reliable, but some say the 1889 Santiago Canyon Fire scorched 300,000 acres!
Originating in the hills in Santa Paula fueled by ferocious winds, the Thomas Fire has consumed much of our hillsides and many of our homes. As of December 28th, there is 91% containment and crews are expected to continue working 24/7 into January.
But … we will recover, and we will rebuild because
We Are Ventura!