Fuelled by winds, the fire along the Santa Paula-Ojai border in California that triggered mandatory evacuations of hundreds of homes has spread to 26,000 acres on Tuesday (5 December).

One person has been confirmed dead in the inferno dubbed the Thomas Fire, according to reports coming in from the city of Santa Paula.

As of 1.50am local time (9.50am GMT) 7,786 homes in Ventura County were under mandatory evacuation. The blaze closed in on downtown Ventura, where multiple structures were reportedly burning.

The Ventura County Fire Department tweeted confirming one fatality "associated with this fire from an automobile accident".

Around 500 firefighters were on sight battling the blaze. Fixed-wing aircraft as well as helicopters were being prepared to help tackle the flames, ABC news channel reported.

According to Los Angeles Times, some of southern California's worst wildfires have occurred in the period between October and December, when the Santa Ana winds whip up.

Los Angeles and Ventura counties could see wind gusts of 50 to 70mph on Monday night (4 December) into Tuesday, the National Weather Service predicts, the website reported.

"This will likely be the strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season," the National Weather Service red flag warning reads. "If fire ignition occurs, there will be the potential for very rapid fire spread, long range spotting, and extreme fire behavior."

"We're really just trying to catch it around the edges and just pinching it off as quickly as we possibly can," Ventura County firefighter Jason Hodge who tackled the inferno on Monday said.

He said the firefighters were dealing with 25 to 50mph winds. "That's what's driving this fire. So it's a challenge, but everybody's out there working hard and will be through the night."

The fire department tweeted that power outages that Santa Paula is experiencing could last for days and they were solely focusing on protecting life and property. The city of Santa Barbara is also said to have lost power around the same time as Santa Paula.

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The Ventura County Fire Department confirmed one fatality 'associated with this fire from an automobile accident' - Representational Image Josh Edelson/AFP