This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The first fire-related fatality from a series of wildfires that have covered Southern California in smoke and ash was confirmed Friday, authorities said.

Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula, was found dead in a car that had been involved in a crash along an evacuation route in a burn area of the Thomas fire in Ventura County on Wednesday night. According to the county medical examiner, Pesola’s cause of death was blunt force trauma with terminal smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.

“The death involved a traffic incident during active fire evacuation,” the medical examiner wrote in a news release. She had been reporting missing after the evacuation.

Read the full story on