Ash from the Thomas Fire may have stopped falling on Ventura County businesses, but the already-struggling local economy will be nursing the burn for some time to come.

“The Ventura County economy was already weak before the Thomas Fire began,” Matthew Fienup, executive director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University, told the Business Journal. “We expect it to really exacerbate many of the economic problems we already had.”

The timing was particularly bad for small businesses, which on average bring in as much as 40 percent of their annual revenue during the holiday season, according to the National Retail Foundation. Some reports anticipate that small retailers in areas affected by the fires – namely those in Ventura County – will lose at least a fifth of their annual income.

Read the full story in the Jan. 8 issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.