Crews battle to keep wildfire flames off the coast of California districts


California Thomas wildfire grows to 230,000 acres

The Thomas Brand is southern California spread to 50,000 acres in just one day, making it the fifth-largest wildfire in modern California history.

The fifth-largest wildfire in the history of California is expanding in an area of California that has remained and in at least moderate drought, even after the last winter of the powerful rain and heavy mountain snowfall eliminated drought symptoms in many of the rest of the state.

The fire is ripping through dry brush on top of a narrow ridge, while teams have struggled to keep the flames roaring down in neighborhoods amid fears of renewed wind.

Firefighters protected foot homes northwest of Los Angeles, making progress in residential areas, while much of the fire growth occurred to the north in the unoccupied forest, Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said Tuesday.

“There were a couple of flare-ups in the hills on a light show last night, but they were expected. For now the teams are fighting the fire on their own terms,” he said, adding that shifting winds are always a danger.

Red Flag warnings for fire danger due to Santa Ana winds and a shortage of moisture were extended during the week, with a possible increase of the wind gusts Thursday to Friday.

Tens of thousands of people remain evacuated, including many of the seaside enclave of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria and the inland agricultural town of Fillmore.

Still under the refugees as a result of smoke Tuesday as Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member Eric Burdon and his wife, Marianna, of Ojai. Last week, Burdon wrote on Facebook about the flights and return temporarily to their home still standing with ash in the round.

“A week like this gives you the perspective that life is what really counts,” he wrote.

A photo with the post showed his handprint and signature are written in the ashes.

Residents in the vicinity of a Carpinteria avocado orchard said the tree could end up saving their homes.

“You have a thick layer of leaves under the soil and they are watered regularly, so it’s like a sponge,” Jeff Dreyer, who lives nearby, told KEYT-TV. “So the fire gets to the sponge full of water and it slows down. It takes a long time to burn.”

The fifth-largest wildfire in California history expanded, ripping through dry brush on top of a narrow ridge, while the crew struggled to keep the flames roaring down in neighborhoods amid fears of renewed wind.

(Santa Barbara News-Press)

Poor quality of the air held dozens of schools closed. As ash rained down and smoke blew through the streets, the supervisors of people to stay if possible and avoid strenuous activity.

Officials masks handed out to those who stayed behind in Montecito, an exclusive community of approximately 75 km away from Los Angeles, which is home to stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bridges and Drew Barrymore. Actor Rob Lowe was among the residents who evacuated in the weekend.

The blaze, known as the Thomas Fire destroyed more than 680 homes, the officials said. It was only partially contained after burning more than 360 square miles of dry brush and wood. The fire has been burning for more than a week.

To the north, the San Francisco Bay Area firefighters quickly contained blazes Tuesday that destroyed at least two homes in the hills east of Oakland — the site of the 1991 firestorm that killed 25 people.

Santa Ana winds have long contributed to some of the region’s most disastrous forest fires. They blow from inland in the direction of the Pacific Ocean, accelerate as they squeeze through mountains and canyons.

The weather service said that if the long-term forecast holds, there will be 13 consecutive days of dry offshore flow before it ends Friday afternoon. There are only 17 more stripes since 1948, including the report of 24 days set between December 1953 and January 1954.

High fire risk is expected to be in January.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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