Terrifying wildfires are continuing to rage in southern California, where the Thomas fire in Ventura County reached the Pacific Ocean Tuesday after spreading to at least 50,000 acres, crossing oil fields and freeways. The fire, which caused Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency, has caused mass evacuations and destroyed buildings including a psychiatric hospital in the city of Ventura, 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Elsewhere in the county, a ring of fire surrounded the former hillside home of Johnny Cash in Casitas Springs, the Los Angeles Times reports. It's not clear whether the building survived. Authorities say 12,000 structures in the region are threatened and more than 200,000 people are under evacuation orders.
More than 1,100 firefighters are battling the fire, which started Monday night and is the most destructive of several fires burning in the region, but authorities say containment is not yet in sight, the Ventura County Star reports. Wind-driven fires are believed to have destroyed hundreds of structures, including many homes in Ventura, where flames destroyed some residences while leaving others untouched. Resident John Terrones says he fled in the middle of the night with his wife and five dogs after his son called to warn of an approaching fire. He says he watched from a distance as flames destroyed a neighbor's home and spared his. "I just watched it burn, burn, burn," he said. "It got almost to our backyard. We got very lucky.