Gusty Santa Ana winds and bone-dry conditions continued to stoke major wildfires in Southern California on Thursday as Ventura County fire officials said the battle there could last well over a week. “Until the wind stops blowing, there’s really not a lot we can do as far as controlling the perimeter,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said as crews battled the 96,000-acre Thomas fire. “This is a fight we’re going to be fighting probably for a couple of weeks.”

That grim outlook came just hours after authorities said they discovered the body of a woman in a burn area, and after heavy winds prompted residents to flee the coastal community of Faria Beach. As smoke billowed overhead and palm trees burned, a police officer drove through the settlement with a megaphone blaring: “Mandatory evacuation” and “Please go the other way, the road is closed.” In Ojai, 40-mph winds pushed flames to within a mile of the city. READ MORE