177 Views

Diminished winds help California battle historic wildfire

© Reuters. Firefighters keep a close watch on the  Thomas wildfire in the hills outside Montecito, California© Reuters. Firefighters keep a close watch on the Thomas wildfire in the hills outside Montecito, California

By Phoenix Tso

VENTURA, Calif. (Reuters) – Calming winds on Sunday helped slow the spread of a California wildfire that already ranks as the third largest in state history, having scorched 269,000 acres (109,000 hectares) along the scenic Pacific Coast north of Los Angeles.

Officials said more than 8,500 firefighters were battling the so-called Thomas Fire in Southern California, which began on

Dec. 4. It has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and threatened 18,000 others, including homes in the wealthy town of Montecito just outside the coastal city of Santa Barbara.

The blaze, centered less than 100 miles (160 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, has forced evacuations that turned neighborhoods into ghost towns and filled the air with smoke.

Communities near Santa Barbara saw a break from the gusting winds that had stoked the fire and helped it spread, opening a window for authorities to contain the disaster during the next two days.

“We want to make sure we get a hold of this thing before Wednesday,” said Captain Rick Crawford, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

Strong winds persisted on Sunday in Ventura County, which remained under a red flag warning. Crawford said the threat level was expected to drop later in the day.

The fire is now 40 percent contained. Firefighters were employing more than 970 fire engines and 34 helicopters to battle the blaze.

Larry Dennis, 60, sought refuge at a shelter in the city of Ventura on Sunday after the blaze inundated the coastal region with smoke and turned nearby hillsides red.

“I’ve seen people who have lost everything,” he said.

Charlotte Garcia, 25, had been at the shelter for almost a week after the fire burned down her house in Ojai, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Ventura. She lamented that firefighters had not done more to stop the destruction.

“The house next door to us got burnt down too, because they were too busy on the hill,” she said.

Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson, 32, died on Thursday while battling the flames near the Ventura County community of Fillmore. The blaze’s first fatality, he died of smoke inhalation and burns, the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Five of the 20 most destructive fires in recorded history have ravaged the state in 2017, according to Cal Fire.

The Thomas fire, the seventh-most destructive in state history, forced many schools to close for days, shut roads and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes. It was also responsible for poor air quality throughout Southern California.

sponsoredArticle = ‘div-gpt-ad-1466339494851-0’;

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Four dead in ambush of World Food Programme convoy in Nigeria
News
228 views
News
228 views

Four dead in ambush of World Food Programme convoy in Nigeria

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

Four dead in ambush of World Food Programme convoy in Nigeria BAUCHI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Four people were killed when a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)…

Trump says not considering firing U.S. special counsel Mueller
News
189 views
News
189 views

Trump says not considering firing U.S. special counsel Mueller

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Mueller testifies at a security threat hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, when asked on…

Chilean conservative Pinera seen winning presidency: media forecast
News
185 views
News
185 views

Chilean conservative Pinera seen winning presidency: media forecast

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

© Reuters. Chilean presidential candidate Pinera with his grandchildren and his wife Morel speaks to the media after voting in a public school during the presidential election,…

Nuclear, renewables to help French CO2 reduction goals, Macron says
News
181 views
News
181 views

Nuclear, renewables to help French CO2 reduction goals, Macron says

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

© Reuters. French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel give a joint news conference in Brussels PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday he…

U.S. Inflation Rebound Hasn’t Been the Right Kind for This Fed
Economy
219 views
Economy
219 views

U.S. Inflation Rebound Hasn’t Been the Right Kind for This Fed

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

© Bloomberg. The Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building stands in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers on…

‘Ronaldo of finance ministers’ becomes new Eurogroup chairman
Economy
205 views
Economy
205 views

‘Ronaldo of finance ministers’ becomes new Eurogroup chairman

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

© Reuters. Centeno, Portugal's Finance Minister and newly elected President of the Eurogroup, holds a news conference at the European Council in Brussels By Jan Strupczewski and…

Macron sees February end to fight against Islamic State in Syria
News
212 views
News
212 views

Macron sees February end to fight against Islamic State in Syria

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

Macron sees February end to fight against Islamic State in Syria PARIS (Reuters) - The military campaign against Islamic State in Syria should be completed in February…

Oil prices stable on lower U.S. crude stocks, but rising output weighs
Commodities
183 views
Commodities
183 views

Oil prices stable on lower U.S. crude stocks, but rising output weighs

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

© Reuters. A gas station attendant pumps fuel into a customer's car at a gas station in Shangha By Henning Gloystein SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices were…

Iran airs ‘confessions’ of researcher facing death for spying
News
92 views
News
92 views

Iran airs ‘confessions’ of researcher facing death for spying

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

Iran airs 'confessions' of researcher facing death for spying By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin LONDON (Reuters) - Iranian state television broadcast on Sunday what it described as the confessions…

Colombia’s ELN rebels willing to extend ceasefire if talks progress
News
69 views
News
69 views

Colombia’s ELN rebels willing to extend ceasefire if talks progress

SPFadmin - December 21, 2017

© Reuters. A rebel of Colombia's Marxist National Liberation Army shows his armband while posing for a photograph, in the northwestern jungles BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's leftist…