Published: Tue, December 19, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

US Thomas Fire contained by half but likely to break record

US Thomas Fire contained by half but likely to break record

Cal Fire said it predicts the fire will be contained by January 7.

Over 8,400 firefighters are battling the 3rd largest and 7th most destructive fire in State history, the 270,500 acre Thomas Fire.

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Crews trying to corral Southern California's enormous wildfire are trying to take advantage of a two-day window of calmer winds before potentially risky gusts return at mid-week, officials said Monday.

The latest tally of burned landscape puts the Thomas blaze among the three largest wildfires documented in California, approaching the record size of the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County that consumed 273,246 acres and killed 15 people. The better conditions were expected through Tuesday, though a wind event was predicted for Wednesday. The Thomas fire has already cost the state $74 million to fight, burned more than 1,000 buildings and over 750 homes, according to authorities. Some 18,000 more residences are still threatened. "I like to say the firefighters did not lose these homes". Additional evacuations were ordered Friday morning as the fires swept through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Mourners stood on freeway overpasses to pay respects to firefighter Cory Iverson, 32, who died December 14 of burns and smoke inhalation. The cause remained under investigation. It's 45 percent contained. The Office of Emergency Services announced the orders Saturday as Santa Ana winds pushed the fire close to the community. The fire has burned more than 700 homes and now threatens communities in Santa Barbara County.

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