California's Thomas Fire scorches area larger than New York City

Emmett Rice
December 12, 2017

Ferocious Santa Ana winds are literally adding fuel to the fires, one week after the colossal Thomas Fire started.

ABC News meteorologist Daniel Manzo said the forecast for those fire-ravaged areas remains serious. That mutual aid began December 5, a spokeswoman said.

Elevated conditions: Fire conditions are much better than over the weekend, but winds will continue to be a bit breezy at 20 to 40 miles per hour through the middle of the week, according to CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.

The strongest winds are expected more toward the Ventura-Los Angeles County line, Munroe said.

Evacuations: Some 94,607 people were under mandatory evacuation orders in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties Sunday evening, Ventura County Sheriff Captain Garo Kuredjian told CNN. Temperatures will remain in the upper 70s and low 80s for the week, as humidity remains low.

The fire erupted seven days ago and resulted in 88,000 people having to evacuate throughout that time period.

"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.

A 70-year-old woman was identified Friday as the first victim of the fires.

A group of Boy Scouts camping in the area were among those evacuated, the Los Angeles Times reported.

On Friday, the district announced that all schools will reopen Monday.

The Thomas fire, the largest of the wildfires, had burned 173,000 acres by Sunday, with just 15 percent contained.

Creek Fire: The second-largest blaze ignited a day later in neighboring Los Angeles County.

"The crews were trying to stay out ahead of this as quickly as they could", said Captain Kendal Bortisser of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention. It started in Ventura County and is now moving across Santa Barbara County. Roughly 8,500 firefighters are actively combatting the blazes.

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The flames that tore through Fallbrook, the self-proclaimed "Avocado Capital of the World", also hit hard in nearby town of Bonsall, where an estimated 30 to 40 elite thoroughbreds perished when the flames swept into barns at the San Luis Rey Training Facility.

Retired tennis player Jimmy Connors' said the Thomas Fire was also threatening his home, tweeting his thanks to the firefighters "working tirelessly".

Officials said that by Saturday the Thomas Fire had charred 59,893 hectares (148,000 acres), an area about the size of Chicago.

The material cost of fire suppression efforts has skyrocketed to some US$17 million, Ventura officials estimated.

Authorities warned residents at a community meeting Sunday in Santa Barbara not to ignore evacuation orders.

There were 652 personnel on scene battling the Rye fire Sunday morning.

The fire had posed a threat to the acclaimed Getty Center, a museum in western Los Angeles. Fires closing in. Firefighters making fearless stands.

The fires have forced the evacuation of some 200,000 people and destroyed almost 800 structures.

The department posted a photo of one residence engulfed in flames before dawn.

In San Diego County, the Lilac Fire, which has torched 4,100 acres and destroyed at least 105 structures, was 60 percent contained Sunday.

In all, 834 structures have been destroyed and 118 structures are damaged across Southern California. The Skirball Fire has destroyed 422 acres and was 85 percent contained Monday morning. It has grown to about 230,000 acres - or 360 square miles.

Four civilians had suffered injuries and were taken to local hospitals, though authorities could not confirm the severity of the injuries. Jerry Brown has a sobering message for Southern Californians after a week of raging wildfires: This is your new normal.

The Liberty fire, located in Riverside County near Murrieta, north of Temecula, has scorched 300 acres of land. But, she said of her belongings and home, "none of that means anything when it is your safety". "It's so disgusting. You never think that it's going to happen to you, and it can".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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