California Wildfires: Santa Barbara Threatened By Thomas Fire

December 11, 2017

Fresh evacuations have been ordered after the largest of the wildfires raging in southern California burned out of control on Sunday. Fanned by winds, the resurgent Thomas fire now threatens the coastal city of Santa Barbara and nearby Carpinteria.

Firefighters earlier reported progress in containing the blaze, said to have devastated an area the size of Chicago. But while other fires hitting the state are largely controlled, the Thomas fire is just 15% contained.

"The winds are kind of squirrely right now," Santa Barbara county fire spokesman Mike Eliason was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. "Some places the smoke is going straight up in the air, and others it's blowing sideways. Depends on what canyon we're in." Evacuation orders were issued overnight for parts of Carpinteria close to Los Padres National Forest, about 100 miles (160km) northwest of Los Angeles.

Forecasters said wind speeds were expected to increase throughout the day, before dying down again overnight. The local fire department tweeted pictures of a wall of flames advancing on homes on the outskirts of Carpinteria early on Sunday morning.


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