Thomas fire in California now the 2nd largest in state’s history

The monster Thomas fire north of Los Angeles is leaving its place in the state's record books as it is now officially the second largest fire in California history. For the past 16 days, the fire that has been turning mountainsides to ash has grown. The fire only needs to consume a couple thousand more acres to dethrone the 2003 Cedar fire that maintains the top spot on the list. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced this morning that 60 percent of the fire is contained, up from 55 percent Tuesday and 50 percent on Monday. Cal Fire reported that it was the same size -- 272,000 acres -- as the night before. So far, the overpowering Thomas fire has claimed two lives, caused more than 100,000 people to flee their homes and destroyed 1,313 structures. More than 8,526 firefighters have put [...]

2017-12-20T11:34:04+00:00December 20th, 2017|0 Comments

Inferno-fanning winds set to return as Thomas Fire close to becoming largest ever in California by PHIL HELSEL

Calm winds have helped California firefighters make progress battling a massive blaze in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, but the fire is expected to eclipse the largest wildfire in recorded state history, officials said. "We've had a very productive day again. It’s nice having a couple days in a row where we have good progress," Deputy Chief Mark Brown of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, said Monday night. The so-called Thomas fire has burned burned around 272,000 acres since it broke out on the evening of Dec. 4. A respite from powerful winds allowed firefighters to reach 50 percent containment on the fire, and crews were taking advantage of calm conditions Tuesday by performing a controlled burn to remove swaths of dry brush along the fire's northern edge. Related: Two months later, California wildfire victims begin the long road [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:48+00:00December 20th, 2017|0 Comments

California fire: Resident says neighborhood looks like ‘war zone’

(CNN)Jeannette Frescas was not concerned about the Thomas Fire until the massive blaze reached her neighborhood in Ventura, California. "At midnight, I woke up with a flashlight in my face," Frescas told CNN affiliate KEYT. "I looked out my window and there were flames that were like, a hundred feet, all around us." Like many residents, Frescas was caught off guard by the fire that has roared across Southern California for 13 days. She's one of tens of thousands of residents who piled into cars and fled as ferocious winds drove the third-largest blaze in modern state history through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. "What was once a paradise was like a war zone," Frescas said of her apartment complex, which was destroyed by the blaze. "It's the scariest thing I've been through in my entire life." Ventura resident Patricia Rye woke up to her son-in-law pounding [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:49+00:00December 17th, 2017|0 Comments

California’s wildfire, the state’s third largest, now bigger than New York City

by ASSOCIATED PRESS SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — 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. That exceeds the devastating Rim Fire southeast of Sacramento in 2013 by 2,000 acres, and outsizes New York City, which measures more than 195,000 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. [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:49+00:00December 16th, 2017|0 Comments

Thousands flee as wildfire ‘beast’ grows to California’s third-largest

VENTURA, Calif. (Reuters) - A raging California wildfire powered by fierce winds grew into the third-largest in state history on Saturday as forced evacuations turned neighborhoods into ghost towns and ash fell in some areas like heavy snow. High winds and dry conditions were expected to remain through the weekend to power the so-called Thomas Fire in Southern California. It has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and threatened 18,000 more since erupting on Dec. 4, including homes in the wealthy enclave of Montecito just outside the coastal city of Santa Barbara. “It is a beast,” Santa Barbara County Fire Department Division Chief Martin Johnson told a news conference. “But we will kill it,” he said. Nearly 8,500 personnel using nearly 1,000 engines and 32 helicopters were battling the blaze, which was 40 percent contained on Saturday evening. It has become the seventh-most destructive in state [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:49+00:00December 16th, 2017|0 Comments

Southern California wildfires trigger mass destruction, hurting families, economy

Thousands of people in Southern California have been forced to evacuate as wind-whipped wildfires continue to blaze across Ventura County. Officials said the so-called “Thomas Fire,” which started on Dec. 4 about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, has now caused at least 50,000 people to evacuate, destroyed at least 972 structures and scorched roughly 242,500 acres so far. About 18,000 additional structures are threatened by the wildfire as well, according to officials. The cause of the fire is currently unknown. As of Thursday morning, it was only 30 percent contained. Authorities confirmed the death of a 70-year-old woman on Dec. 8. Virginia Pesola was reportedly killed in a car crash along an evacuation route on Dec. 6. Her death is the first connected to the six wildfires in the region. In addition, one unnamed firefighter has reportedly been injured and three other people were burned, [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:50+00:00December 14th, 2017|0 Comments

Skirball Fire: Officials Determine Cause Of Bel-Air Blaze; Thomas Fire Still Unchecked; Apple Donates $1M – Update

3RD UPDATE, 12:39 PM: The Los Angeles Fire Department said this morning that the Skirball Fire that destroyed homes in Bel-Air last week was caused by an illegal cooking fire. “LAFD investigators have determined the fire was caused by an illegal cooking fire at an encampment in a brush area adjacent to where Sepulveda Boulevard crosses under the San Diego (405) Freeway,” officials said. “At the time of the LAFD’s arrival there were no individuals present at the area of origin and there have been no arrests made in connection to this fire.” The Skirball Fire burned more than 400 acres, destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others. Meanwhile, Apple has pledged $1M for Southern California wildfire relief as the Thomas Fire continues to burn in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and others scorch parts of Los Angeles and San Diego counties. The company also had pledged $1M in relief [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:50+00:00December 12th, 2017|0 Comments

California wildfires now larger than New York City and Boston combined

(CNN)One week after the Thomas Fire exploded from a brush fire to a raging inferno, hundreds of firefighters are still struggling to contain it. The blaze is larger than all of New York City and was only 15% contained as of Monday morning, according to the fire protection agency CAL FIRE.   At more than 230,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the Thomas Fire is now the fifth largest wildfire in modern California history. But it's only one of six major wildfires torching the state.   As the flames move on to new neighborhoods, some evacuated residents have returned to find no home standing.   David Karian used a hand rake to sift through the charred rubble of his elderly parents' home in Ventura.   "There's not much, but if there's a few things that will help them have some connection to the past, [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:51+00:00December 11th, 2017|0 Comments

First fire-related death confirmed in Southern California

(CNN)A woman whose body was found at a crash site along an evacuation route in Southern California became the first confirmed fire-related casualty in a series of raging wildfires that could gain strength this weekend. Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday was due to visit Ventura County, home to the largest of the six wildfires, the Thomas Fire. He'll survey damage, meet with affected residents, consult with government officials and emergency responders, and brief reporters, his office said. His visit comes as strong Santa Ana winds this weekend could fuel the flames, the National Weather Service said. Wind gusts in the region will be 35 to 55 mph through Sunday, CNN meteorologist Rachel Aissen said. The forecast could challenge firefighters, who by Friday had made progress against the Thomas Fire, officials said. "With this break in the weather, we've made good progress, but that progress is [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:52+00:00December 9th, 2017|0 Comments