Gusty winds, low humidity tax tired California firefighters

Firefighters battling the massive ...

Posted: Dec 14, 2017 4:07 AM
Updated: Dec 14, 2017 4:08 AM

Firefighters battling the massive Thomas Fire in Southern California have contained 25% of the blaze, but the weary crews have their work cut out for them in the days to come.

Wind gusts and low humidity are giving life to the ravaging blaze -- a behemoth larger than New York City -- that is destroying and damaging property and prompting mandatory and voluntary evacuations.

Advisory citing critical fire weather conditions is in effect until Friday

At least 95,000 residents have been evacuated

The inferno threatens Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito and surrounding areas, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

Relief from the parched and blustery weather won't be in sight for several days.

"The dry spell looks to sustain itself for at least the next week," said CNN meteorologist Michael Guy. "But some long-range models project some rain relief coming by Christmas which would be a welcome gift for the firefighters and residents of the region. This is still a long way out, so we will keep monitoring it for any changes."

Latest developments

Making history: At more than 236,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the Thomas Fire is now the fifth-largest wildfire in modern California history.

Months without rain: It has been more than 250 days since rain was recorded in the part of Ventura County where the Thomas Fire sparked on December 4, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Devastation: Seven hundred and one single-family residences, 12 commercial structures and 182 minor structures have been destroyed.

Red flag warning: An advisory citing critical fire weather conditions is in effect until 10 a.m. (1 p.m. ET) Friday.

Wind: Gusts could reach 40 mph or higher in parts of Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Humidity: Levels will still be extremely low with low recovery in the overnight hours. Temperatures will remain in the upper 70s and low 80s. Santa Ana wind advisories are possible by the end of the week.

Evacuations: At least 95,000 residents have been evacuated in Southern California, Cal Fire said.

Death toll: There has been one death in the Thomas Fire. Authorities said they believe Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula died in a crash while fleeing the fire. Her body was found last Wednesday.

More than 1,000 structures destroyed

The Thomas Fire is one of six major wildfires torching Southern California. The fires have destroyed more than 1,000 structures since igniting.

The blazes vary in size, but together, they are larger than the cities of New York and Boston combined, or bigger than Singapore.

One of the fires, named Skirball, was caused by an "illegal cooking fire at an encampment in a brush area" near where Sepulveda Boulevard crosses under the San Diego Freeway, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. No arrests have been made.

The Skirball Fire, which broke out a week ago, consumed more than 400 acres, destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others, the fire department said in a statement. It's 85% contained.

The causes of the other major fires have yet to be determined.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604758

Reported Deaths: 7648
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1250271781
Ramsey52525898
Dakota46864471
Anoka42797458
Washington27437291
Stearns22563225
St. Louis18145314
Scott17554138
Wright16385149
Olmsted13406102
Sherburne1202895
Carver1067648
Clay826592
Rice8207110
Blue Earth762944
Crow Wing681995
Kandiyohi668485
Chisago620752
Otter Tail586484
Benton583098
Goodhue484074
Douglas475881
Mower470533
Winona461452
Itasca460263
Isanti440364
McLeod431261
Morrison424862
Beltrami408062
Nobles407850
Steele397817
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363953
Carlton353056
Freeborn347133
Pine334923
Nicollet331345
Mille Lacs311854
Brown308040
Le Sueur297426
Cass286532
Todd285733
Meeker263643
Waseca238023
Martin235333
Roseau211221
Wabasha20793
Hubbard196641
Dodge18783
Renville182846
Redwood176639
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena163423
Fillmore157610
Faribault155319
Chippewa153938
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146710
Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122812
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine115020
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95618
Stevens92511
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned47793
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371318

Reported Deaths: 6059
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58281641
Linn21248339
Scott20311248
Black Hawk16200312
Woodbury15240230
Johnson1462685
Dubuque13517211
Dallas1129399
Pottawattamie11233174
Story1071948
Warren584091
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554297
Sioux517774
Webster516594
Muscatine4883106
Marshall488076
Des Moines468172
Wapello4340122
Buena Vista427140
Jasper421273
Plymouth403281
Lee382557
Marion366176
Jones301157
Henry294937
Bremer288861
Carroll287052
Boone268534
Crawford268440
Benton260455
Washington257251
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232651
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama212371
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198935
Page194522
Buchanan194233
Cedar192323
Hardin187444
Fayette187143
Wright186140
Hamilton182051
Harrison180073
Clayton171257
Butler166535
Madison164619
Mills163924
Floyd163542
Cherokee159438
Lyon159241
Poweshiek157136
Allamakee152952
Hancock150334
Iowa149924
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138813
Grundy137533
Emmet135741
Jefferson133435
Shelby131837
Sac130920
Union130135
Louisa129649
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126743
Chickasaw124917
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113523
Howard105122
Montgomery103638
Clarke101124
Keokuk97032
Monroe96431
Unassigned9570
Ida91635
Adair87532
Pocahontas85822
Davis85325
Monona83631
Osceola78917
Greene78111
Lucas77923
Worth7628
Taylor66812
Fremont6279
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56418
Wayne54423
Audubon53411
Adams3454
Rochester
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