60016
59725

World  

Cali. fire third largest

UPDATED 9:09 a.m.

The massive wildfire that California has been battling since early December has now ballooned into the third-largest in the state's history, burning a record amount of acreage, officials said Saturday.

Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority said the Thomas Fire, which started Dec. 4 in Santa Paula, has now burned 259,000 acres (nearly 105,000 hectares). That exceeds the devastating Rim Fire in 2013 by 2,000 acres.

"As of this morning, we're at 259,000 acres and still growing," Concialdi said.

The region has had "red flag" — or hot, dry and windy — conditions for an unprecedented 13 consecutive days.

The National Weather Service says those conditions would last at least through Saturday evening, with winds gusting to 40 mph in the Santa Barbara County mountains where the fire is burning.

Everything about the fire was massive, from a footprint larger than that of many cities to the sheer scale of destruction that cremated entire neighbourhoods or the legions attacking it: about 8,300 firefighters from nearly a dozen states, aided by 78 bulldozers and 29 helicopters that were dropping thousands of gallons (litres) of water on fires and hot spots.

Firefighting costs were approaching $89 million.

The Thomas Fire surging through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties has already burned more than 1,000 buildings, including well over 750 homes. Another 18,000 buildings are still in jeopardy, including mansions in the wealthy enclave of Montecito. Some 315 fire engines are stationed in and around homes in Montecito and Santa Barbara, along with "hand crews" armed with equipment like chain saws and drop torches. Another 200 fire engines are on standby.


The fourth-largest wildfire in California history continues to grow and threaten thousands of homes despite armies of fire crews and fleets of bulldozers and aircraft.

Although Santa Ana winds eased on Friday amid the blaze northwest of Los Angeles, they are expected to return with a vengeance over the weekend. And the fire is so large that winds on one end may be gustier than those on the other side.

The 11-day-old Thomas fire surging through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties had devoured some 1,000 square kilometres of brush and timber and burned more than 1,000 buildings, including well over 750 homes.

Another 18,000 buildings are still in jeopardy, including mansions in the wealthy enclave of Montecito.

The fire is only 35 per cent surrounded despite efforts by some 8,000 firefighters, 32 helicopters and 78 bulldozers.

Santa Barbara has had only a tiny amount of rain since Oct. 1, the start of the new water year, and is more than 7.6 centimetres below normal to date.

The fire already has destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, including well over 700 homes, and threatens 18,000 more structures.

Another focus of firefighting was on the eastern flank in canyons where a state firefighter was killed Thursday near the agricultural town of Fillmore.

Officials have released no details on the death of 32-year-old Cory Iverson.

The National Weather Service forecast extreme fire danger or "red flag" conditions through at least Saturday evening, with winds gusting to 40 mph in the Santa Barbara County mountains where the fire is burning. Firefighters were facing first northerly "sundowner" winds through the night that could turn into northeasterly Santa Ana winds, driving the flames in another direction.

Everything about the fire was massive, from a footprint larger than that of many cities to the sheer scale of destruction that cremated entire neighbourhoods or the legions attacking it: more than 8,000 firefighters from nearly a dozen states, aided by 32 helicopters and 78 bulldozers.

Firefighting costs were approaching $89 million.



More World News

World
57459
London Webcam
Webcam provided by webcams.travel
57111
Recent Trending
132115
Okanagan Oldies
132150
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
57890



57839
59608