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Southern California wildfire devours homes as residents escape

Ferocious winds in Southern California have whipped up an explosive wildfire, prompting evacuation orders for thousands of homes.

35 PHOTOS

Firefighters monitor a section of wildfire along the 101 freeway on Dec. 7, 2017 north of Ventura, California. The firefighters occasionally used a flare device to burn-off brush close to the roadside.

Strong Santa Ana winds are rapidly pushing multiple wildfires across the region, expanding across tens of thousands of acres and destroying hundreds of homes and structures.

Related: Malibu menaced by the wildfires that have been ravaging Southern California

Mario Tama / Getty Images
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Flames consume a home as a wildfire burns in Ojai on Dec. 7.

Noah Berger / AP
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A person rides their bicycle as a section of wildfire burns on a bluff on Dec. 7 in La Conchita. Many evacuation holdouts were forced to flee the small seaside town as the flames approached.

Mario Tama / Getty Images
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Santa Barbara firefighters try to keep the wildfire from jumping Highway 101 in Ventura County on Dec. 7.

Jim Seida / NBC News
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Heavy smoke covers the seaside enclave of Mondos Beach beside the 101 highway as flames reach the coast near Ventura county on Dec. 6.

Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images
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Firefighters work to save burning houses along Linda Flora Drive in Los Angeles on Dec. 6.

Kyle Grillot / AFP - Getty Images
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A CalFire plane drops Phos-Chek over the wildfire that began in the early morning hours in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles on Dec. 6.

John Cetrino / EPA
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A mansion that survived a wildfire sits on a hilltop in Bel-Air on Dec. 6.

Jae C. Hong / AP
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A firefighter battles the Thomas Fire along Highway 33 in Ventura County on Dec. 5. A dramatic new wildfire erupted in Los Angeles early Wednesday as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across Southern California.

Related: Thousands flee massive Southern California wildfire

Wally Skalij / LA Times via Getty Images
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A wildfire threatens homes as it burns along the 101 Freeway on Dec. 5, in Ventura. Southern California's Santa Ana winds have long contributed to some of the region's most disastrous wildfires. They blow from the inland toward the Pacific Ocean, speeding up as they squeeze through mountain passes and canyons.

Jae C. Hong / AP
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Carolyn Potter tries to save her house as she throws dirt on her fence in Casita Springs on Dec. 5.

Wally Skalij / LA Times via Getty Images
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Edward Aguilar runs through flames to save his cats at his mobile home along Highway 33 in Casita Springs on Dec. 5.

Wally Skalij / LA Times via Getty Images
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A firefighter checks the interior of a home as they conduct structure protection from the brush fire on Dec. 5 in Oakview.

Marcus Yam / LA Times via Getty Images
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John Bain and Brandon Baker take cover from embers as they try to help stop a fire from burning a stranger's home on Dec. 5 in Ventura.

Marcus Yam / LA Times via Getty Images
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Trees burn in Ojai on Dec. 5.

John Cetrino / EPA
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A firefighter hoses down flareups at the two story Hawaiian Village apartment complex that burned to the ground in Ventura on Dec. 5.

Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images
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A strong wind blows embers around a resident as he hoses his property on Dec. 5 in Sunland.

David McNew / Getty Images
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A local man prays after an early-morning fire broke out in the San Fernando Valley in Sylmar on Dec. 5.

Gene Blevins / Reuters
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A destroyed car is surrounded by wreckage at the two story Hawaiian Village apartment complex in Ventura on Dec. 5.

Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images
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Residents watch a home burn on a hillside in Ventura on Dec. 5.

Mike Blake / Reuters
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Firefighters hose down a home in Ventura on Dec. 5.

John Cetrino / EPA
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A resident stands in the remains of an apartment complex on Dec. 5 in Ventura.

Mario Tama / Getty Images
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Local residents react as numerous homes burn on a hillside in Ventura on Dec. 5.

Mike Blake / Reuters
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Flames burst through a window of a home in Ventura on Dec. 5.

John Cetrino / EPA
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Michael and Vonea McQuillam stand beside their home that was burned to the ground in Ventura on Dec. 5.

Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images
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A man watches flames consume a residence on Dec. 5 in Ventura.

Noah Berger / AP
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Neighbors watch as a house burns on Dec. 5.

Mike Blake / Reuters
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Smoke rises behind a leveled apartment complex on Dec. 5. Over 100 structures have burned so far in Ventura County, officials said.

Noah Berger / AP
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Mobile homes burn in the early morning hours of Dec. 5.

John Cetrino / EPA
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Smoke rises into the night sky as strong winds push the Thomas Fire across thousands of acres on Dec. 4.

David McNew / Reuters
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Firefighters work to put out a blaze burning homes early on Dec. 5 in Ventura County. Authorities said the blaze broke out Monday and grew wildly in the hours that followed, consuming vegetation that hasn't burned in decades.

In the first 10 hours, the fire has already burned 31,000 acres and has forced more than 25,000 people to evacuate as one of the strongest Santa Ana winds forecast of the season is ongoing and expected to last several days.

Ryan Cullom / Ventura County Fire Department via AP
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Flames spread behind a vehicle on Dec. 4.

Gene Blevins / Reuters
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A firefighter works on a burning home on Dec. 5.

John Cetrino / EPA
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Property burns as strong winds push the Thomas Fire across thousands of acres on Dec. 5.

David McNew / Reuters
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Downtown is darkened by a power outage with smoke rising in the distance on Dec. 5.

David McNew / Reuters
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