Woman’s Body Recovered in Thomas Fire Evacuation Zone Near Santa Paula

The body of a woman was found Thursday morning in a fire evacuation zone impacted by the 150-square-mile Thomas Fire burning in Ventura County.

The body was recovered after what appeared to be a solo vehicle crash in Wheeler Canyon between Santa Paula and Ojai, Ventura County Fire Department Public Information Officer Rich Macklin said.

Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said the California Highway Patrol responded Wednesday night to a report of a crash. Officers found a vehicle off the roadway with a woman's body inside.

Sheriff's investigators are still trying to determine if the woman's death is related to the fire, the sergeant said. It's possible the victim's death occurred before the fire, but the victim was just located, he said.

The coroner's office is working to identify the woman and notify her family.

The Thomas Fire began Monday evening north of Santa Paula and has prompted thousands of evacuations.

Authorities are still assessing home many structures have been destroyed but gave a tentative number Thursday: 73 homes, three commercial buildings and 15 outbuildings; with 14 homes and 1 outbuilding damaged.

KTLA's Irving Last and Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.