California fires: largest blaze threatens Santa Barbara and prompts evacuation

California fires: largest blaze threatens Santa Barbara and prompts evacuation

California fires: largest blaze threatens Santa Barbara and prompts evacuation

It means that elevated fire weather conditions are expected due to a combination of gusty winds and low humidity.

On December 4, a small brush fire, reported at 6:28 PM PST in Ventura County, quickly exploded scorching everything in its path. Southern California Edison said that outages and surges could potentially affect up to 85,000 customers, with 2,432 customers without power at 9 p.m. PST Sunday (midnight ET).

More than 30,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders.

Yet the weather is doing little to help their fight against the Thomas Fire, which is roughly a week old at this point.

In the past week, the only death has been a 70-year-old woman who died Wednesday in a vehicle accident as she tried to flee the flames in Ventura County.

The six blazes vary in size. Dubbed the Thomas Fire, it is now the biggest and most devastating of the several fires currently raging through the state. Since then, at least six other large fires sparked across the Southern California counties of Los Angeles (Creek, Rye, and Skirball fires), San Bernardino (Little Mountain fire), San Diego (Lilac fire), and Riverside (Liberty fire). After burning through 230,000 acres, destroying over 150 structures and forcing more than 88,000 residents to flee their homes, the out-of-control blaze has spread to the nearby Santa Barbara County and is now threatening the coastal towns of Carpinteria and Montecito. Three people were burned trying to escape the fire that continued to smolder Sunday.

Brown plans to meet at noon PST (2000 GMT) with residents and officials in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, where officials said the largest of the blazes, the Thomas Fire, has charred 148,000 acres (59,893 hectares) and destroyed 537 structures. Firefighters are making progress, with 93% of the blaze contained. Personnel on that strike team were made up of some firefighters who had only days earlier left the front lines of the Canyon fire in Corona.

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The blaze was 90 percent contained as of Sunday morning, and 1,964 personnel are fighting the flames.

"Anytime the winds kick up, fires do weird things, and if the wind kicked up from the other direction it could come right back", Shaw said. It's 100% contained, but authorities are monitoring it ahead of a forecast increase in winds.

Gov. Jerry Brown warned on Saturday that the long-running drought in California that has quite literally added fuel to the fire, had extended fire season. "So we have to have the resources to combat the fires and we also have to invest in managing the vegetation and forests ... in a place that's getting hotter".

Several celebrities with homes in the endangered region thanked firefighters for their fearless efforts. "And then at the same time, we were like, 'OK, my family's OK. I'm praying for everyone in our community and thankful to all the incredible firefighters".

Knapp was sure he had seen his house burn on the television news, so he was expecting the worst when he snuck past a police barricade to witness the damage and was surprised to find it still standing. We just had to evacuate our pets. She said as of Saturday morning, it was unclear when they will be allowed to return to their homes.

Helicopters were also dousing homes with water to protect them from the flames, fire officials said.

Fire fighters attack the Thomas Fire's north flank with backfires as they continue to fight a massive wildfire north of Los Angeles, near Ojai, California.

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