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Southern California Thomas Fire explodes in size, threatens a new areas

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Firefighters progress in combating forest fires in California

Will Carr reports on the efforts to keep the flames

The south of California, the largest and most destructive wildfire exploded in size Sunday in new areas, such as the wind-whipped flames forced thousands more residents to flee their homes.

The powerful flare-up on the western edge of the Thomas Brand, was a new evacuations as the fire sent a huge plume in the area of Montecito and Carpinteria, the coastal areas in Santa Barbara County that had under fire threat for days and were now choked with smoke.

“The winds are kind of squirrely right now,” Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County fire spokesman said. “Some places the smoke goes straight up in the air, and others the wind is blowing sideways. Depends on what canyon we are in.”

Fire brigade with the help of a fleet of water-dropping planes and helicopters tried to save houses by the unpredictable gusts of wind sent the blaze deeper into residential foot areas northwest of Los Angeles that have not burned in decades.

Firefighters monitor the Thomas fire as it burns through the Los Padres National Forest near Ojai, California.

(AP)

The wind-fueled fire churned by old-growth brush in canyons and along slopes in the direction of coastal towns.

The out-of-control blaze grew more than 50,000 acres on Sunday and scored with 230,000 acres in total, making it the fifth-largest wildfire in modern California history, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Firefighters light backfire while trying to start a forest fire from jumping Santa Ana Rd. in the neighborhood of Ventura, California.

(AP)

THOMAS FIRE IN THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA JOINS LIST OF DESTRUCTIVE BLOOMS IN THE STATE

The blaze is split into two forks in an uncontrolled way to the west to the Santa Barbara foothills, and northwest towards Lake Cachuma, FOX 11 reported.

Thousands of homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County were without power. Overall, the fire destroyed about 800 homes and other buildings, killed dozens of horses and forced more than 200,000 people to flee since Dec. 4.

Officials masks were distributed to residents who stayed behind in Montecito, the wealthy hillside enclave that is home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bridges and Rob Lowe.

Jeff Bridge’s home in Montecito, California. under the threat of fire by the fires.

(Reuters)

“Our house is under threat of a burned up,” Ellen DeGeneres tweeted on the afternoon of the Sunday. “We had to evacuate our pets. I pray for everyone in our community and grateful to all the incredible fire fighters.”

Our house is under the threat of burned. We had to evacuate our pets. I pray for everyone in our community and grateful to all the incredible fire fighters. The live stream is on https://t.co/FTcKVvHO16

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 10, 2017

Oprah Winfrey’s home in Montecito, California. under the threat of fire by the fires.

(Reuters)

“Peace, be still, is my prayer tonight,” Oprah tweeted on Sunday. “For all the fires raging through my community and beyond. #peacebestill”

Peace, be still, is my prayer tonight. For all the fires raging through my community and beyond. #peacebestill??

— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) December 11, 2017

In Carpinteria, a retired school teacher Can Osher told the LA Times that they do not intend to leave her local area, unless ordered to by the police.

“I’m to stay until it’s time to go,”Osher said.

A few miles to the west, Santa Barbara Zoo was closed to the public. Employees gave shelter to the zoo 500 animals.

Firefighters made significant progress Saturday on the other fronts of the huge fire that started Dec. 4 in the neighboring Ventura County. As inclusion has increased on the other large brands in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego county, resources from this fire have been diverted to the Santa Barbara foothills.

Video

Race horses to eat freely as California wildfire approaching training facility

Forecasters said the Santa Ana winds that whipped fires in the region last week would continue in some areas until at least Monday.

A lack of rain has officials on the side is because of parched conditions and no end in sight for the typical fire season.

“This is the new normal,” Gov. Jerry Brown warned Saturday, after surveying damage from the deadly Ventura fire. “We are ready for the fire fighting on Christmas. This is very strange and unusual.”

Since last Sunday, the fire destroyed about 800 homes and other buildings, killed dozens of horses and forced more than 200,000 people to flee the flames that have burned more than 270 square miles since Dec. 4. A death, so far, a 70-year-old woman who crashed her car on an evacuation route, is attributed to the fire in Santa Paula, a small town, where the fire started.

SANTA ANA WINDS: WHAT ARE THEY?

The Thomas Fire in Ventura County blaze also continue to burn in the rugged mountains in the Los Padres National Forest, near the small town of Ojai and in the direction of a set up for the preservation of endangered California condors.

If the fires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, the fire service were already present north of San Diego on Thursday when a big fire broke out and quickly spread in the Fallbrook area, which is known for its avocado groves and horse stables in the rolling hills.

A hill, glowing with a glow as the Thomas fire is burning through the Los Padres National Forest near Ojai, California.

(AP)

The fire swept through the San Luis Rey Training Facility, where he killed more than 40 elite thoroughbreds and destroyed more than 100 houses — most of them in a retirement community. Three people were burned trying to escape the fire that continued to smolder Sunday.

The last week the fires were in places that have burned in the past, including one in the upscale Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel-Air that burned six homes and another one in the city rugged foothills over the community of Sylmar and Santa Paula.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

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