Lines cut around a third of the still-powerful California blaze

LOS ANGELES – Fire lines are established around nearly a third of one of the largest fires in the history of California, but the danger remains.

The coastal areas in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties warned Wednesday that they are still at risk as the unpredictable winds whip up and fan the flames.

The National Weather Service extended warnings up to and including Friday of extreme fire danger conditions throughout much of Southern California due to lack of moisture, together with a possible increase in wind gust speeds at the end of the week.

Firefighters made some progress Wednesday on the control of the so-called Thomas Brand, that has spread in the national forest northwest of Los Angeles. But she warned that the fire would continue to spread west as it is eating up dry brush.

Wednesday evening, state fire officials said the fire was 30 percent contained but it continued to threaten Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito, a wealthy area home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey.

Since the fire broke out on Dec. 4, it has burned more than 372 square miles (965 square miles) and destroyed 921 buildings — including at least 700 homes. It threatens than 18,000 buildings, and has led to the evacuation of about 100,000 people. It is the fifth-largest wildfire in California history.

To the south in San Diego County, firefighters are very close to those of other major wildfires a week after the outbreak of.

That fire burned 157 structures, the most in the devastating first hour.

Also killed 46 race horses at a training center, and left one of their trainers with serious burns.


For complete coverage of the forest fires in California, click here:

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